Published Aug 24, 2016While TUNS vocalist/guitarist Matt Murphy explains quite tunefully on "Back Among Friends" that its three members have experienced a mix of good times and bad times together, their self-titled debut may be one of the more all-out joyful releases of the year. Just a couple of songs later, in fact, bassist Mike O'Neill offers up a most goofy, but earnest-as-hell assertion that he's "having an awesome time."
If you grew up on the collective songbooks of their Super Friendz, Sloan and the Inbreds, chances are you'll be grinning just as big over this latest release. Certainly, parts of the record could be likened to the former Haligonians' halcyon days. For instance, while driven by a glammy stomp from drummer Chris Murphy, the backing falsetto harmonies of his bandmates on "Look Who's Back in Town Again" echo his closing cries on Sloan ballad "The Other Man."
That said, the act broadens its horizons by exploring '80s vintage Athens, Georgia jangle ("Mixed Messages") and twitchy, cane sugar-spiked power pop ("Mind Your Manners"). Slowing things down just slightly for the finale, O'Neill steals hearts with a tender vocal turn on the lightly strummed, but heavily swoon-worthy "I Can't Wait Forever."
While it's a group of seasoned pros, there's a wide-eyed and youthful feel to TUNS. In part, this could be attributed to Matt Murphy's quite cherubic vocals, but more than that, it just sounds like the three old pals are having a blast working together. Beyond its heaps of pop-rock hooks, TUNS debut full-length is a testament to the eternal power of friendship. (Royal Mountain Records)