‘Greyland,’ the debut album from the Brooklyn based, Avant-pop quintet Tiny Hazard, can be ironically summed up by the single word “duality.”
The group formed after meeting at the New School and is led by opera trained, singer/songwriter Alena Spanger. Despite the celestial sounds Spanger emits, in tones ranging from pastorally delicate to nova-like screeching, she prefers recording her vocals within the four walls of her bedroom. Opposition is key on ‘Greyland,’ where the band’s remarkably talented instrumentalists build tension with music that soars alongside Spanger’s angelic vocals and then ignites in tandem when she reaches a demonically fierce climax. It’s difficult describing Tiny Hazard’s music without referencing the supernatural, their galactic sounds both relatable and completely incomprehensible at once.
The whole of ‘Greyland’ aptly follows the narrative of a fallen angel, beginning with the airy single ‘Sesame,’ where Spanger’s voice sweetly swims and sings “carry me slowly down,” a blanket of twinkling chimes and hollow percussion swaddling her child-like croons. The juxtaposition between high and low instrumentals is also heard on the following ‘Like A Child’ as heavy drums back a chirping and enigmatic guitar, video-game-esque distortion intermittently ripping throughout. The ethereal landscape that introduces the album darkens into more hell-bound territory with ‘Sharkwhirl,’ a chaotic track where Spanger’s (im)perfect vocals maniacally giggle against crooked warps and frenzied percussion. Pauses here don’t stop the sound but instead vibrate with nervous tension. While chaos in unpredictability is never forgone on ‘Greyland’ (see the track ‘Little One’,) the album simmers down into somberness with tracks like ‘Lynx,’ a piano ballad where a complex tapestry of timbres and textures heartbreakingly strangle our senses. Among an eerie melody reminiscent of Willy Wonka, Spanger warns us of our fate with the haunting line, “I’m going to wrap around you like sinew and bone.”
And wrapped we are, immersed even, yet left completely agape. Such an opposing sensation is exactly what ‘Greyland’ achieves. The impressive musicianship and weaving vocals combine like a star lit quilt, cosmic yet heavy with humanness. With ‘Greyland’ comes certainty that we can expect a meteoric rise from Tiny Hazard that you won’t need a telescope to see.
‘Greyland’ is set to release February 24th via Ba Da Bing Records