REVIEW: Tangerine’s “Radical Blossom” (EP)

 photo Tangerine_cover_zps84bc42e5.jpg Seattle’s Tangerine make some bright and bubbly pop, which some may hear as a bright alternative to the heavy stuff or just all around good music. The group have returned after one EP release with another, called Radical Blossom (Swoon).

The one thing I hope doesn’t happen with this release is some journalist calls this “the rise of hapa rock” or “hapa pop” simply because of the the Justad sisters, vocalist Marika and drummer Miro. What the two do very well is harmonize, to the point where I had wondered if what I was hearing was just one of them singing background to themselves. It reminds me a bit of country groups where the singers are related, and those harmonies can’t be denied. It applies with Tangerine, who are rounded off with bassist Ryan Baker and guitarist Toby Kuhn, and together they make the kind of festive indie pop that makes you want to dance and smile without regret, whether it sounds to you like Belly, Lush, or maybe something closer to Beat Happening or The Vaselines. The song that hit home for me is “Hanford Riviera”, as the Hanford Nuclear Plant is in my backyard, and no one would ever call Hanford a riviera anything (a bit like calling the city of Yakima “the Palm Springs of Washington State”, but that’s another story, another time). With a bit of wah-wah action that begins the song in a Pushim fashion, Tangerine sing of the beauty of the Columbia River, but ruined by the nuclear waste of Hanford. It sounds like a beautiful love song, or perhaps it’s more of a parting song, wishing well to the river and goodbye to the goodness that used to be. While those outside of the Pacific Northwest may not get it, it is funny and sad at the same time for those who do.

What makes Tangerine work is the serenity of their music, and the fact that they rock it out while doing it in a pop fashion is quite nice. Radical Blossom may represent the group themselves, never fiendish but willing to be different from the other flowers, if need be.

(Radical Blossom will be released on August 31st.)

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