Dan MacIntosh - Stereo Subversion
Gabriel Montana Leis, of the San Francisco duo Tidelands, claims Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead gave him his first guitar. The musical evidence presented on If… supports this legend — it sure appears as if some of Weir’s storied psychedelic vibes have rubbed off on Leis and partner Mie Araki.
If… is a magical mystery tour of music, sprinkled with fairy dust and fantasy. Such lyrical concerns automatically spice Tidelands’ flavor with a strongly progressive rock taste. However, there is also something enjoyably grandiose about Tidelands’ sonic waves. For instance, when the trumpets blast like a fanfare from a bygone era during “Eyes of God,” it’s tough not to get pulled (neither kicking nor screaming) into this act’s lovingly spacey world.
This is not just any typical rock band. Leis, born in New Delhi, India, contributes flugelhorn – yes, flugelhorn! – as well as vocals along with his guitar playing to this album, while Araki – from the exotic Osaka, Japan, no less – is a classically trained percussionist that has also mastered Moog synthesizers.
The result is like nothing you’ve ever heard before. “Marigold,” for example, steps boldly into the mystic and never looks back. It’s the most beautifully pseudo spiritual music we’ve heard since Mike Scott first started creating epic songs with The Waterboys way back in the ‘80s.
Call it naïve, if you like, but the world can sure use a lot more musical beauty. Every single news flash on the networks is additional ugly on an ape, and somebody, somewhere needs to counter all this dirty negativity. Tidelands, in its own small way, is helping to turn this tide. If that doesn’t sell you, however, try to name the last time you heard a flugelhorn on a pop album. Still thinking about it? I thought so. Tidelands is the easy answer — and an easy choice for any music lover.