Turn those frowns upside down kids! Jamaal Turner and Michael Nestor of Underlined Passages release their new album, Tandi My Dicafi, tomorrow, September 15 on Mint 400 Records, and it is a serious winner. In only eight songs, this album delivers a cathartic experience with barely contained emotion, sure to satisfy even the dreariest of moods.
The first track, appropriately named “Feelings,” starts out easy, but quickly fills out underneath the sustained vocals with harmonies and a tight beat, building to create tension that gears the listener up for the rest of the album – which does not disappoint.
Equally adept at up-tempo tracks and more thoughtful ballads, Underlined Passages excels at creating a specific mood for each song that fits within the album as a whole. The sultry pulse of “Your Bedroom” highlights the desperation in the lyrics: “So much time slipping through our hands/All that we have is/Is this moment.” The stakes feel so high in this song, with a sense of longing that lingers even as it fades into silence. “Bottlerocket” sounds like a sad second act to “Your Bedroom,” as Nestor sings, “Drove my car around the bends/Mourning for my innocence/I don’t think about you tonight.” The ending, like a heartbeat ringing out, leaves the listener with a haunting sensation of things left unfinished.
From this point, take a turn upward with “Thinking, On a Sunday.” “Come on, let’s go run away,” Nestor sings, and “Ruthenia” sounds like an answer to this call, an upbeat but still introspective escape. “Never Forever” gives the album power while retaining the emotionality: “Here we’ll say again our only refrain/When will everything seem light again?”
“The Days Were Golden My Friends,” with its indie-folk, jangly sound, ends the album on a serene, hopeful note. A wistful “I need you forever” repeats as the track fades out, a refrain which resonates throughout an album filled with desire and loss. This is not music to put on in the background while you’re running around at work; it’s an album for the drive home after a breakup. It’s for lying in the dark with only your regrets for company. And it’s one you should listen to as soon as possible.
Catch Underlined Passages at either of their record release shows: September 15th at Connolly’s Klub 45 in New York or September 16th at Dangerously Delicious Pies if you happen to be in Baltimore, and give Tandi My Dicafi a listen on SoundCloud, Spotify, or Bandcamp as soon as it drops!
Carrie is N.J. Racket's copy editor and contributor of many album and EP reviews. She also has a puppy named Halo and loves Mac N Cheese.