Banastre Tarleton

Review: Local rocker finds silver lining in sadness

By Aarik Danielsen
Thursday, May 12, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Banastre Tarleton’s latest is an exercise in smiling though your heart is aching. Tarleton and Co. offer
up seven new tunes that are, primarily, bright and up-tempo; lyrically, however, they deal with the
fallout from love lost and wrestle with demons, both of the internal and religious kind.

The album kicks off with “Crossfire,” in which Tarleton is caught between cosmic forces. The track
benefits from the spry, groovy drumming of Pete Generous as it vacillates between an upbeat feel
and foreboding guitar sounds. A nimble outro really makes the song stand out.

“Most of All” is marked by lilting guitars and a sort of sing-speak; the tune’s emotional content is
both warm and weighty, as Tarleton tenderly sings of the community lost at a relationship’s end.
He uses a chant-like vocal to less desirable effect on “Warriors of the Way.” The tune, which opens
with an extended intro a la Styx, is one of several to mention spiritual struggles and make specific
references to Christianity.

Perhaps the album’s highlight is “She’s Faraway,” a kinder, gentler, more mature version of “Hot for
Teacher.” A college-rock jangle propels the song and Todd Russell nails the searing, arena-rock guitar

Tarleton’s mettle is proved on album closer “Survivor,” which has a springy, acoustic feel and listens
in on the songwriter’s conversation with God. He resolves to be what the song’s title says he is.
Tarleton and his supporting cast deftly weave their parts together; especially well-executed is the
melding of piano and guitar. At a few points, vocal techniques and sparkling tones betray the gravity
of the record’s subject matter.

But, for the most part, Tarleton does an admirable job mixing the bitter and the sweet on what is one
of his strongest, and clearly most personal, efforts in recent memory.

Produced by Tarleton. Recorded at Centro Cellar Studios, The Music House, Byron Baker Studio
and Pete Szkolka Studio in Columbia. Engineered by Wil Reeves, Stephen Gardner, Byron Baker
and Pete Szkolka.

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rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in After Hours on Thursday, May 12, 2016 2:00 pm.