Friday, October 21, 2016

TnT Music - Pieces

New York based songwriter Joy Tolbert and Pennsylvania resident Tim Toz have written more than a dozen songs since beginning their Internet collaboration. A chance encounter and mutual admiration formed on the Soundcloud website led to their earliest efforts and it quickly became apparent to both artists that they experienced an unique chemistry when working together that had no natural antecedent in their lives. The latest release from their partnership, “Pieces”, is distinctly modern, yet the most significant reason for its success is how artfully it obeys rock and roll’s expectations while still peppering the mix with added instrumental voices. While the songwriting embraces fundamentals and makes great use of them, Toz and Tolbert aren’t content produced canned, paint by numbers rock tracks. Instead, “Pieces” has hints of a higher sensibility noticeable in the mix. The production chores, largely handled by Toz, are discharged exceptionally well – “Pieces” never sounds anything less than outstanding. 

A swell of keyboards and voices in orchestrated harmony open the song before exploding in a full-born guitar fanfare. The sound is sleek and sharply defined. Toz plays with a great deal of lyricism and melody before the introduction ends and they move without a hiccup into the first verse. The blaring electric guitar work dissipates into jangling acoustic guitar, but the melody never disappears. Tolbert’s vocal melody is extraordinarily well suited for this work – her voice falls snugly between the spaces and rolls in lockstep with the playing. The lyrics, likewise, weave well around the musical content. There’s something in the arrangement that brilliantly mimics the rise and fall of human emotion and Tolbert zeros in that, particularly on the chorus. 

Her vocal performance is largely understated, but she unleashes the full force of her throat and lungs on the chorus and bridges. Even then, however, she never goes completely over the top – instead, she continues listening to the lyrics and attempts exactly matching her vocal to the drama inherent to the arrangement. She knows when to turn up the temperature and when to back off into a more nuanced approach. Songs like this can easily collapse into total melodrama, but mature songwriters and performers like Toz and Tolbert know exactly how to play such moments. As a result, one never experiences the feeling of being pandered to and finishes the song feeling fully satisfied.  

The musical and emotional fireworks conjured by TnT Music have tremendous commercial appeal, but they are likewise the result of artistic depth. There are superficial things galore to admire about this song, but its truest rewards come with multiple listens. There isn’t a single word or note out of place throughout. TnT Music shows, conclusively, that chemistry isn’t always about being in the same room together – creativity is no respecter of miles or postal code. They’ve captured something quite special with their teaming up and will likely continue to score big with future releases. 

Dale Butcher

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