Tacks, the Boy Disaster
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Tacks, the Boy Disaster

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The headliner, local quartet Tacks, the Boy Disaster, not even a year old yet, delivered nearly all the songs from their impressive debut Oh, Beatrice. It was a dizzying affair, from the woozy "Matilda" to the Beatles tap of "Forget Me Not," which features one of singer/keyboardist Evan Jacobs' gems: "See death will try to snag us all, she'll rip the portraits off your wall. Got to burn them all." The end of the divine "Paris" dovetailed into a jazzy experimental jam led by drummer Jason Friedrich, with Jacobs flailing behind his keyboard on a mixture of ecstasy and mania. There's no one source for Tacks; a new number sounded like something on Factory Records and closer "Frozen Feet" could almost be Bowie. They had the formula down: a killer hook, ear-teasing lyrics; and the crowd was doing something that rarely occurs at shows anymore - dancing. This disaster was beautiful. Go out and buy this CD. - Audra Schroeder, July 7, 2006 - The Austin Chronicle


Austin's Tacks, the boy disaster has just released their debut EP, Oh, Beatrice. I know I've posted on them numerous times, but allow me one more emphatic declaration of my love for this band: the song "Man With a Plan" is one of the best songs I've heard this year, and alone is worth the cost of the EP... - July 11, 2006 - gorillavsbear.net


The buzz machine has sputtered to life again, this time for local quartet Tacks, the Boy Disaster, who leave debut CD Oh, Beatrice in their wake. Mixing synth, organ, and razor-sharp harmonies, their sound is full and rapturous, something frontman Evan Jacobs may have picked up during his stint in Polyphonic Spree. See if they live up to the hype, along with stage-stuffing collective Alex Dupree & the Trapdoor Band, and the solo guitar of Jonathan Horne. - Audra Schroeder, June 30, 2006 - The Austin Chronicle


Software can now deconstruct songs to determine their "hit" ability. Feed it "Frozen Feet." From the mid-Sixties and for roughly a decade after, if you'd fed Top 40 radio the leadoff track of this young Austin quartet's debut – presto! Communal love song (everybody loves it). Today, there's the FOX network and iPod commercials. Move over Band of Horsemeat and What Made Milwaukee Famous, meet the new kid in town: Tacks, the Boy Disaster. The Motown clomp and hypno jangle – a quick string twinkle in the other channel – then a voice drunk on love, regret, and nostalgia. "The sky was falling down upon itself, you were wearing Orion's belt. To keep your drawers from falling down." Cue the organ, and Zombies pastoral. "So we moved along the outside, the eastside to the westside. We went up towards the hillside." Oh, Beatrice, what a sluicing hook! The second track, "Paris," is a guaranteed follow-up, and the remaining tracks: piano, Beach Boys, Beatles, clarinet. "But if we wait too long, it'll be too late. And when the sun comes out, it'll be too late. And when the clock strikes 12, it'll be too late ... in the day ... too late in the day ... too late in the day." Repeat 'til No. 1. - Raoul Hernandez, July 21, 2006 - Austin Chronicle


Gotta thank a recent IM conversation with itinerant marathonpacks-er Hannah for introducing me to "Frozen Feet." It's one of those songs that instantly---and I mean instantly---ingratiated itself to me with its gentle sense of unseen dread, like Midlake's "Roscoe," definitely this song's close relative. But more importantly, this lyric is of a certain type that I'm inevitably drawn to---a brief chronicle of what seems to be an even briefer moment. A moment that should probably have been inconsequential and quickly forgotten, if not for all of those emotions and meandering backstories and things that are kept in old milkcrates for no specific reason. And this song encompasses not much more than a walk to a park, but does it with a detail-oriented sense of wonder that magnifies it way beyond how it would appear to outsiders, with that little mini-epiphany masquerading as a chorus. - August 8, 2006 - www.marathonpacks.com


For a seven song EP, Oh, Beatrice cuts an impressively broad swath, moving effortlessly through array of pop sounds. The consistent thread running throughout, however, is Evan Jacobs’ mellow vocals, who has taken more than a little from his experience as part of the many-headed Polyphonic Spree for these songs. The songs are seductive with their vocal swoon, slowly reeling the listener into an unfolding elaborateness so that what seems gentle and easy in the opening verses eventually gives way to altogether epic sensibility. Even a short and simple pop song like “Forget-Me-Not” blooms at the end with textures that bear Erik Wofford’s characteristic cacophony production.

From the opening track, “Frozen Feet,” the EP is ambitious in its range, but still manages to maintain a solid coherence within the individual songs. The throbbing drum beat that begins the track powers through the turns of Thom York-ish crooning and even a strange 70’s vibe on the chorus that is at times only a couple steps removed from Steely Dan. As improbable as that mixture sounds, Tacks manages to not only pull it off, but make the song simultaneously catchy, smooth, and beautiful. Even in their more experimental flourishes, like the segueing tracks “Man with a Plan” and the instrumental “Last Stand,” the disorientation of distortion is offset by a soft overlay of strings and clarinets to create a subtle dreamscape.

It’s also difficult not to hear the Beatles behind many of the bopping piano riffs, or even just in the sensibility of most of the songs’ inevitable disintegration from a straightforward pop into a burst of noise. “Queen of the Fisherman” is certainly influenced by this approach, but Tacks’ eruptions are always much more controlled and contained as a whole than the Beatles’ more cacophonous and cathartic moments.

The best track on the album, however, is “Paris,” which weaves Jacobs’ soft and sweet voice into a musical atmosphere of raindrops tapping against windows and cobblestone streets, gently building and breaking to wash the song and match the substance of the lyrics. The imagery that Tacks is able to evoke on “Paris” is vivid and enveloping, and, like the EP as whole, seems to transport the listener into its own beautiful, alluring space.

-Greg Freeman - www.austinsound.net


Tacks’ debut EP Oh, Beatrice dropped earlier this summer with 7 songs of softly swaying pop set to an amazingly epic psychedelic sound and Evan Jacobs’ smooth, high-ranging voice. At times it seems that an entire history of British pop is swirling through the disc – from the Beatles to Spiritualized to even a few Radiohead-ish moments. The opener, “Frozen Feet” manages to even throw in a strange 70’s-FM vibe to the chorus that somehow they still make work. But the result is a spectacularly beautiful set of songs with waves of seductive pop orchestration. - Austinsound.net


Let me sincerely encourage you for once in 2006 not to pass on a purchase. The record in question is the debut EP Oh, Beatrice (July 2006) from Austin quartet Tacks, The Boy Disaster. Brimming with tambourines, bells, charmingly out-of-tune keyboards, and vocal harmonies that, like so many others these days, have a comfy touch of 1970s to them, Oh, Beatrice is a little gem of an EP that does what a short-playing record ought to. It tantalizes you into coming back for more. I'm uncertain of the Tacks schedule of live appearances this summer and fall, so check in over at the band's MySpace and encourage the band to get out of Texas and come see you in person. I do know that their album-release concert was a big hit in Austin. Not surprising, given the magnetism these guys have even on record. - hellogina.blogspot.com


Discography

"Oh, Beatrice" EP (self-released)

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Bio

With a sound too expansive to be labeled purely as indie rock, Tacks, the Boy Disaster offers thoughtful and imaginative lyricism, solid musical hooks and rich instrumentation reminiscent of late-60’s/early-70’s pop. Yet the band, whose moniker is derived from a minor character in a forgotten children’s book, has managed to reconcile their brilliant pop sensibility and familiarity with their taste for the unexpected.

After only eight months together, Evan Jacobs (vocals/keys), a founding member of Midlake who also moonlights with the Polyphonic Spree, and the rest of the band - Jason Friedrich (drums), Nathan Stein (guitar), and Alán Uribe (bass/vocals) – recorded Oh, Beatrice in Jacobs’ house with equipment they borrowed from friends. Released in July '06, Oh, Beatrice received glorious reviews from local press and became an immediate buzz in the blogoshpere.

The Austin Chronicle called Oh, Beatrice, “a mixture of ecstasy and mania”, and the band quickly gained an ardent regional following as word-of-mouth spread about their extraordinary live shows with Texas favorites Sound TEAM, Peter and the Wolf, and Voxtrot. The band’s single “Frozen Feet” was added to regular rotation on Austin’s KROX in the Fall of ‘06 and The Daily Texan put Oh, Beatrice first on their “Top 10 Albums from ATX” list.

Tacks, the Boy Disaster will set out on tour this Spring with Midlake and later play at SXSW. In the months following the tour, the band has plans to record their full-length debut album and anticipates a Fall 2007 release.