No Harm 3:080:00/3:08
Oh, Tim 2:420:00/2:42
The Emerald Horizon 2:550:00/2:55
"Rice’s voice is stunningly good – pure, with infinite emotional depth."
-Phil S., Leicester Bangs
"Tara Rice's new EP, Panorama, would have served as the perfect soundtrack to the summers at Lake Geneva where Mary Shelley wrote her classic novel, Frankenstein."
-Amy Heimpel, Velvet Rope Magazine
"Tara Rice makes what I call dark country. Soothing yet sinister. She can lull you to sleep or wake the dead with her siren songs."
-Phil Russel, ALittleBitOfSol
"Since I’ve been involved in the TO music scene, Tara continues to be one of my favourite vocalists."
There could be another way to think about it. Possibly another truth. Just a slight perspective shift, a deeper dig into what we think we know, an investigation into the rumour, and suddenly worlds emerge. Old dirt is overturned and fresh earth is uncovered. That red devil who is seen as so evil? Maybe he’s a horned god, assimilated from an old religion who represents free will, music, nature, dancing and love. That famous vilified stoner? Perhaps he had a PhD, and researched the chemical alteration of consciousness in a controlled setting to better understand the nature of human behavior.
‘Panorama’, the 6-song EP from Toronto-based artist Tara Rice, ponders such prospects, and gently urges the imagination to reach for new interpretations; a peeling back of the story, layer by layer, in an effort to give way to a holistic, panoramic view.
Though the majority of the music was written, recorded and performed by Rice in her Bloor Street apartment, the mood of this alternative folk-rock album transcends the concrete city vibe. The songs, along with Tara’s multifaceted, distinctive voice, sweep and shape-shift through genres and influences (a bit of PJ Harvey grunge here, some Sandy Denny folk there). At times summoning whimsical, psychedelic pastoral vistas, and at other times conjuring crisp, cool, dark autumn forests in times of myth, Panorama’s music pulls the listener into an evocative and welcoming world that is wholly its own.
Rice’s voice has been described as haunting and otherworldly, ebbing and flowing symbiotically with her propensity for bending genres. Throughout ‘Panorama’ we can experience a heartbreaking vulnerability expressed in one moment, playful inquisitiveness or sensuality in the next and then the hiss of barbed vitriol. Yet somehow, it all seems to happen at the right time, delivered with emotionally wide-ranging lyrics and melodies that endure in the soul.
Tara is currently booking Canadian show and festival dates. You can also find her singing with her longtime love, the cinematic art-rock band, 5th PROJEKT (www.5thprojekt.com).
Opening the alternative folk sounds is “Stones” which merges acoustic guitar and tuned percussive wood blocks that layer over each other beautifully and organically. Tara’s voice has a sheen to it and an effortlessness to its whispered ways. She reminds me very much of Wendy Rule, whose Australian folk is just as organic. The track is emotive and like a journey with catchy verses. “Vampires” is a more plugged effort with a muddy bass line and electric guitar ambient effects creating a claustrophobic atmosphere as slowly Tara’s voice tightens and raises up the octaves for an unsettling tone. It was the first track of Tara’s I heard and is still probably my favourite as it’s the dark and angst riddled side to her, but it also shape shifts from rock to dark to fluffy and back again in a drop of a hat and it all makes sense. “No Harm” stays firmly in the aggressive side with noise drenched drum machines and plenty of minor chords. The chords remind me of Maple Bee and her catchy choruses. It also has some nifty production tricks that continue that haunted witch feel.
“Oh Tim” is a pretty ditty that waltz the guitar through the rat-tat-tat like an olden folk tale given the modern lyrical overhaul. It’s also got some of my favourite lyrics from the clearly troubled Tim like “In order to use your head you need to go out of your mind”. “If You Were My Monster” then takes us back to a western tinged 90’s PJ Harvey and it really lets Tara’s voice shine as well as her ability to weave hooks into a track that stick in your mind for ages. It packs a punch and holds you there as you rock out to its riff. The closer “The Emerald Horizon” is an acoustic guitar led song that has multiple layers of Tara’s vocals providing a spooky yet sultry aura to the piece. It’s got a shuffle bop to it as she sings “you’re a champagne spiritualist”.
It’s a strong start to what will hopefully be a productive and equally engaging career. This is a singer/songwriter who has carved out a really clever palette of sound and Higher Plain Music is excited to see where it goes next.-Simon Smith
Tara Rice's new EP, Panorama, would have served as the perfect soundtrack to the summers at Lake Geneva where Mary Shelley wrote her classic novel, Frankenstein.
The six tracks are gothic, romantic, and evoke images of haunted castles on high cliffs. Best known as a singer in the cinematic art rock group 5thPROJEKT, the fiery red-haired songstress’ solo effort proves she is a gem of a vocalist. An emerald, in fact.
Lyrically, Panorama opens on a strong note with, “Vaccinate my loneliness with cigarettes and wine/Then invite the ghosts inside to help me keep the time.” It is clear from the first note that Rice “Vampires,” the second track, has thankfully nothing to do with Twilight, but instead, uses the mythical creature as a metaphor for emotional draining. Rice spouts, “Sure are a lot of vampires in here…Feasting on my bleeding heart/I don’t want to be a part/Of this game.”
The “creatures” theme- specifically werewolves, ghosts, and monsters- is common throughout the six tracks; a consistency that comes from Rice having written all six tracks herself. In engaging these types of rich metaphors, she references the darkest parts of ourselves-our fears and our inhibitions- and brings them to light.Tara Rice’s Panorama was released on August 6th through Organik Rekords. It can be purchased online. 5th PROJEKT will be releasing a six-track EP, Gamma-Wave-Rhythm, on September 14th.