It’s always fascinating to hear artists harken back, musically, to eras they were hardly old enough to experience other than through cultural osmosis or historical exploration. Not sure which path was tread by Amy Stroup on her new Tunnel release, but she somehow finds her way back into the ’80s, and brings numerous modern accoutrements along for the journey. Yes, a quirky, ’80s sensibility informs quite a few of Tunnel‘s tunes, including the opening track, which was inspired by a viewing of Martika’s “Toy Soldiers” video; but equally present throughout the set are a deft, utterly modern sophistication on the production side and a singer/songwriter’s thoughtful, literate attention to the lyrics.
In yet another artistic push-pull, Stroup’s airy vocals lift the whole piece up while also grounding it in its own authenticity. And there are enough acoustic instruments to infuse a thoroughly organic feel despite the intrepid electronic flourishes. In fact, the juxtaposition is what keeps things in the present, with one eye toward the future — a balanced approach reminiscent of Katie Herzig and Uh Huh Her.
And all of that is to be expected from the creative chameleon that is Amy Stroup. Whether as a solo artist, a collaborator with Trent Dabbs (in Sugar + the Hi-Lows), or a partner in Milkglass Creative, Stroup is always up to some sort of artistic something, so it’s hard to get a true handle on what she’s all about. And that’s probably the point.
Here, though, the cuts that best seems to encapsulate what Stroup and Tunnel have to offer lie in the trifecta of “Falling,” “Far from Yesterday,” and “Say You Won’t.” Within those three songs, the listener gets a little bit of everything — melodic pop, thoughtful incantations, and lush sonic landscapes. But, once that trio has done its aural best, keep listening… more treasures remain.
Grab some free NoiseTrade music from Amy Stroup.