Tune Tank - 'Invasion of a skyline'

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this evening’s Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on an independent rock trio from Sweden, Tune Tank. Consisting of three brothers who had all played in various bands throughout their lives, Tune Tank is an endeavor that kicked off in 2015 and has now resulted in a full record, ‘Invasion of a skyline.’ (Note that the album stylized the capitalization that way.) It’s due out this Friday, September 2. Is it worth digging into? Let’s do just that and find out!

In May, I reviewed the two singles that ‘Invasion of a skyline’ produced: ‘Innocent Man’ and ‘Sometimes I Do.’ Thus, I won’t dig too deep into them - here’s a link to read my full analysis of them from the beginning of the summer. I will say, however, that they now stand tall in a collection of equally tactful songs. ‘Innocent Man’ is a fantastic opening track. It’s very well produced, employs some pop sensibility, and it’s a perfect culmination of the musical chemistry that ‘Invasion of a skyline’ exudes.

‘Insane,’ the tune following ‘Innocent Man,’ is a compelling entry following the hard-hitting single. It centers itself around a sharp, edgy electric guitar that creates a backdrop for a vocal execution that employs some sparse harmonies. The song essentially catalogs everything that’s “insane.” There are darker musings, like how “buying a pistol” could be insane, but the “discovery of medicine” was equally insane - as is “fighting with a good friend.”

‘52 Factorial’ is an acoustic track and interesting inclusion after two tracks of intensity. The more minimalist soundscape allows Tune Tank to focus squarely on their lyricism, of which ‘52 Factorial’ boasts some of the best. It’s a sparse track, and I must laud the lead vocalist, because he holds himself particularly well against a key that’s a difficult one to pull off. There’s a huge vocal register exhibited on ‘52 Factorial,’ and it’s executed well.

In contrast, ‘The Beauty In The Beast’ definitely falters in the lyrical department. It’s a cache of predictable cliches about flying as a bird into the sunset to escape the world, how things always get better, and so on and so forth. It’s a trope-fest. It’s immediately followed up by ‘Sometimes I Do,’ however, which is a very fine tune. Thus, the weak link in the center of this collection is short lived.

The bizarre ‘The Visitor’ is another fascinating song, one that offers some of the most intriguing lyricism on the album. The performances in particular are excellent, too, and that, of course, is a recurring asset of the entire experience. ‘Mindtrap’ follows with another song with instrumental compositions that hit the ball out of the park. For a trio, Tune Tank remains superbly good at filling a landscape with a massive amount of intricacy and explosiveness.

‘Caveman’ is another ‘different’ track, as the vocalist banters back and forth with a metaphorical caveman that seems to have stolen parts of his perceived humanity. It’s surprisingly introspective, perhaps like several of these songs, including the melancholy ‘Down’ that follows immediately after - a track that even incorporates a haunting string section that rounds it out splendidly. In fact, ‘Down’ is one of the understated champions of ‘Invasion of a skyline.’

‘California Let Down’ offers a bombastic finale about finding happiness and laughter within one’s life while there’s still time to do so. The track definitely has a sense of finality to it, and it wraps up the collection in a terrific fashion. Plus, those synthesizers and harmonies? Absolutely fantastic. It concretes an excellent set of ten tracks very much worth one’s time this September.

Earlier this year, I argued that the brotherly camaraderie of Tune Tank is apparent in their music. Having heard a full ten song collection, I’m more certain than ever that this is the case. Their music has a raw chemistry that can’t be manufactured or forced. Every piece of the puzzle aligns magnificently well, and as result, Tune Tank has created one of the most impressive debut albums in the independent scene this year.

It’s very hard to put out a good debut. Goodness, many icons and famed artists weren’t able to do that. Finding one’s sound is a difficult journey. ‘Invasion of a skyline’ exhibits a trio that seems to have found their sound. The next step, however, is growing that sound into its next iteration - arguably one of the hardest things to do as an artist. I can’t wait to see what Tune Tank comes up with next, but in the meantime, put ‘Invasion of a skyline’ on your to-do list for this Friday.