Released in the final breath of 2021 but another proposition which breeds captivation like few others, Rewind is the new album from Swedish-Australian indie pop outfit Tiny Fighter. It is a collection of tracks which caress the senses as they seduce the imagination, a muse of pop songs exploring and discovering new aspects in their bodies, emotive depths and the listener’s thoughts.
Evolving from a collaboration between Therese Karlsson (a truck driver from Kalmar in the deep south of Sweden) and Tim Spelman (a doctor from the deep south of Australia), Tiny Fighter emerged in 2017, growing into a full band and undertaking numerous tours around the US, Canada and Europe before the pandemic hit. They have also released a host of singles, EPs, live album and the seriously acclaimed debut album, Going Home, in 2020.
With restrictions still preventing artist’s physical creativity, and “urged by a fan-campaign led by a collection of locked-down Tiny Fighter supporters”, Karlsson and Spelman decided on the project which was to be Rewind. The album brings together new songs with re-interpretations of some fan-favourites tracks revisited with new vision and adventure. It was an endeavour which opened up new opportunities in the imagination of the band which Karlsson described as “…fun looking into our own rear-view mirror and now bringing some of our songs to light once more with an acoustic touch. So for this album, we are Rewinding time and, at the same time, we look forward to seeing what lies ahead of us.”
Produced by multi-Grammy award winning producer Thomas “Plec” Johansson (Opeth, Soilwork, Degrade), Rewind opens with You Said To Me, a song immediately caressing ears with acoustic beauty and Karlsson’s smoothly radiant tones. Over releases, hers has grown into a voice and temptation for which we here can refuse nothing and especially in this moment, a seduction of breath and sentiment which simply smoulders within the opener and its own hug of sound which is just as compelling.
It is a gentle invitation into the release, majestically providing the tone of invention and re-imagining to come as immediately proven by successor Sprinter. Again Karlsson is a beacon of melodic intimacy and enthralling delicacy but tenderness thick in strength and heart which beguiled as richly as the evolving orchestral craft emerging from the initial earnestness of piano keys.
An acoustic revisit to one of the band’s first singles, New Century, is next, Tiny Fighters softening the original’s rock thrust without losing its inherent strength of presence and touch as their acoustic take pulls with richer relish upon the song’s creative threads. As its predecessors, the song proved an inescapable pull on the passions too before If I Could See hugged ears in intimate drama and wistful contemplation for equal compulsion. Originally placed within the band’s live album, Loft Sessions (Live in New York), the band draws its organic prowess into a tighter impact of emotive temptation again without losing that natural and original soul.
Fascination and temptation soaks next up Happier, the band evolving its rich indie texturing with the emotive acoustic breath of mandolins and similarly other melody weaving instrumentation as Karlsson presents the song’s heart in her native tongue. Drama fuels every note and atmospheric breath of the track while the following Strangest Thing reveals its own fresh dramatic strengths within its acoustic interpretation. Probably our favourite Tiny Fighters track to date, its southern warmth, almost swarthy grace is revealed here around the instinctive catchiness which makes the song the kind which effortlessly has you roaring in unison; here it’s more reserved but no less impacting proposal as powerfully manipulative.
The acoustic version of Tell Me shows again that the band do more than just strip back a familiar triumph, breeding and pulling out new emotive depths and creative invention through imagination and new instrumentation to create a whole new incitement for ears. Indeed the band creates a wholly different beast without losing the integral heart and strengths of the original as again the album surprised and impressed.
Completed by its title track, itself sublime melodic temptation and emotive captivation, Rewind is an album which promised much in its design and intent and delivered far more in its creativity and bold imagination. Certainly we instinctively are drawn to the band’s indie rock/pop inclinations but simply found ourselves lost in enthralment with the Tiny Fighters ‘look back’ yet steps forward.
Rewind is out now via Bay Terrace Records; available @ https://tinyfighterz.bandcamp.com/album/rewind
Pete RingMaster 10/02/2022
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