Tarmac Adam is the creation of Melbourne, Australia-based songwriter Matt O’Donnell and multi-instrumentalist Steve Paix. Later, Rueben Alexander joined to play drums, and the group was completed with the arrival of Crowded House bass player, Nick Seymour. The Crowded House connection is part of the ‘history effect’ that colors this album. Nearly ten years ago, O’Donnell and Paix had the complete Crowded House rhythm section – Seymour and the late Paul Hester – performing on Tarmac‘s debut album Handheld Torch. Import copies found their way on to US radio and a word of mouth buzz began to spread. Before Tarmac Adam made the trek overseas to full realize the potential of their debut record, they were beckoned by a bigger calling, fatherhood.
Coincidentally, it was those experiences that inspired lyricist O’Donnell to write again, and a decade later, new songs emerged. So enticing were the songs that Seymour got on a plane and the rest is The History Effect. During their hiatus, O’Donnell experienced many of life’s ups and downs – aspiration, triumphs, regret, and acceptance – all themes that are threaded throughout the album’s twelve tracks. There are brief moments of soundscapes that bridge the verses and choruses in these songs – as if the group is quietly reflecting during these times before picking up the songs. The album opener “Chalk On Slate” builds up to bright backup melodies and keyboard organ layers that dart around Seymour‘s dancing bass. Guest vocalist Maddy Hay offers a haunting cameo on the lush “You As Me”, a song that is bittersweet with shades of the romanticism, reminiscent of the pre-Brit Pop bands of the early 90s. “Give It Back” starts with bossanova harmonies that are interrupted by a low guitar and laidback chorus.
On The History Effect, Tarmac Adam paint a musical picture of never ending spaces. They’re making sense of everything they’ve experienced since their last record with the aid of a mental open road and a restraint we all have in common: time.
“…the appeal of Tarmac Adam is about intimacy and soundscapes…”
– Melbourne’s The Age
RIYL: Elbow, Death Cab for Cutie, Wilco, The Shins
Recommended Tracks: Track #1 “Chalk On Slate”, track #3 “You As Me”, track #6 “Giving It Back”, track #9 “Window Pane”
Label: Onesize Records
Going for Adds 2/18 & 2/19