[sic] Magazine

Tagyeah – Tagyeah

In my day fans of this stuff used to be called ‘the long raincoat brigade’. This is a reference to bands like The Monochrome Set, Echo and The Bunnymen and Joy Division in particular. (Ref – those superb Cummins and Corbijn photographs.) Of course, today that sound is back with a vengence but in Tagyeah’s native Netherlands it never really went away. The popularity of groups like The Chameleons and The Sound has remained steadfast. Outlets like Red Sun Records (founded by Convent frontman Carlo Van Putten) have stayed unswervingly faithful to that vaguely gothic post punk sound, putting out all manner of direct descendents, clones and wannabe’s. Amsterdams iconic Paradiso club is arguably more synonimous with those classic bands than any mancunian venue, The Hacienda included.

Tagyeah comes from Friesland, a province of the Netherlands. I say “comes” because I don’t think the collective noun applies. I cannot be certain but I reckon Tagyeah is a one-man project. Neither the website nor the sleeve credits are clear about this. You see Tagyeah (Harold) has his own code. Songtitles include ‘TG’, ‘DDD’, ‘INWYT’….etc Yeah, they’re tagged all right. By the way, crack the code and you can win the album – only I think you really need the album to crack the code. (They must study Heller a lot in Dutch High Schools)

This is a nice record. Like the titles it needs a bit of time and work to unlock. I’m still not totally sure whether the album benefits most from familiarity or from progressing through it? The opening two or three songs struggle for lack of discenible shape or pattern. Opener ‘TG’ sounds like parts of different songs cobbled together. The drumbeat slows at times and occasionally drops out all together. This is confusing at first but with repeated listens these actaully add interest value.

The middle of the album is utterly resplendent. In fact the sequence from 5th to 7th track is a pleasure to listen to. ‘ML’ (‘My Life’) is arguably the albums finest ‘Xymox meets Linkin Park’ moment when driving drum programming and moody synth give way to blazing nu metal guitars. ‘AMS’ sounds like it has been listening appreciably to Cocteau Twins Garlands. Guitars positively howl, Harold literally howls and the drum machine takes advantage of its colleagues wounded status by muscling its way centre stage. The third of the trio, ‘WYSIC’ is probably the masterpiece. This track is a halfway home between the first albums of Dead Can Dance and Editors. Its ‘execution knell’ sound is icy and thrilling.

A mixed bag then. Some odd moments pop up. Like the employment of rock metal guitar riffs within a moody post-punk setting. Then I suppose the awesome God Machine were rather heavy at times and no worse for it. Some tracks here are mere workouts. ‘IISH’ being a case in point. But when Tagyeah is good he’s certainly more than interesting. Another big tick comes with ninth track ‘CTM’ (‘Come to me’) Reminds me a lot of Trisome 21.

Incidentally Friesland is a northen territory of the Netherlands famed for its cattle. It is also the region where the worlds tallest people hail from. I should really make a visit myself. At 6.5” it would be nice to feel short for once. The clothes shopping should be ideal too. Especially if I need a raincoat.