Tamden Shy is the somewhat curious moniker of Dublin-based musician Dean Smith. Apparently recorded in his kitchen, and with all but one song coming in under the three-minute mark, the EP conjures instant thoughts of The Coral, and Lee Mavers, with an undeniable sincerity in the delivery. Songs detail the wounding power of love as opposed to the healing, coated in a tremolo effect and a DIY production sound.
Mockingbird opens with a warm, if familiar, psychedelic feel. The chorus drum rumbles see the tom sounds almost congeal into one another such is the lo-fi compression, and a guitar squealing out a spidery solo is buried under there. If after this opener the first reaction is indeed to dismiss the EP as a Coral rip off, it would be to do it a disservice. I Don’t Want You To Be Mine begins with a vibrating guitar twang – a distant cousin of A Hard Day’s Night – and a Beatles-y pop tune duly follows, albeit with a surfy guitar break.
Love Is A Game carries a welcome touch of doo-wop. It’s a swaying take on that age-old theme, the tribulations of the game of love, a game in which there are no winners – “Love is a game and it’s played by fools/ Love is a game you always lose – except for us of course, because songs like this never get old. “Bitter and Blue is darker again, calling to mind Nick Cave, with tribal drums adding a rumbling menace to the EP’s continuing cynicism in matters of the heart – “He was bitter/ He was blue/ When he heard the news/ That you found somebody new”.
By and large, there’s nothing on here that’s wildly original, but it’s done with an unmistakable sense of fun and melodic flair. It’s not a million miles from what The #1’s are doing, albeit on a more mellow and melancholic scale, and for a homespun project it has its own certain ambience. There may well be more to come from Tamden Shy’s kitchen in the near future, let’s see if his outlook on romancin’ takes a turn for the better.