March 2014 National Music Reviews

Review: Tycho – Awake

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Tycho
Awake
Ghostly International
Street: 10.14.13
Tycho = El Ten Eleven + Blue Hawaii
It is safe to say that I have been a Tycho fan from the beginning. I have closely followed his work since Past is Prologue, and I was extremely interested to see what his third studio release would bring. Awake pulls similar sounds from both Past is Prologue and Dive, and is very much a Tycho record, but it is more intricate. There is more to connect with. Scott Hansen has made a linear progression from Dive into the sounds of Awake. The first single off the album, “Awake,” immediately proves that with the inclusion of the guitar, something that had been missing in his previous work. Although there was a presence of drums and guitars in his live shows, Hansen hardly used them in recordings. As I move through each song, the line between Awake and Dive becomes blurred, but if you listen closely, the guitar is laced throughout. The album still has that airy Tycho feel, but it is heavier. “Dye” brings my understanding of Tycho’s growth full circle, and I turned on a track from Past is Prologue just to be sure I was hearing it correctly. Hansen has created a blend of organic and digital that isn’t overwhelming to fans of Tycho’s earlier work, but heavy enough that it might even be enjoyed by an indie rock fan. The final three tracks of Awake show how far Hansen has come with not just his understanding of music but his ability to grow and evolve, bringing his listeners along for the ride. “Plains” slowly relaxes the end of the album, while the all-too-familiar Tycho melodies are strummed by a guitar and the song slowly fades out. Successful third albums are hard to come by, but I am glad I have stuck by Tycho this long. –Karamea Puriri
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