No Snare (KLP217)
No Snare [KLP217] is less a rejection of things that have been, as it a reconfiguration. Take away the snare and there isn't loss, just a new song. As we pass through the flood of moments that is our lives we make a constant stream of decisions as to what to hold on to and what to let go of. But– even as it changes radically – it is always our life. It will be said that this collection of songs from Tender Forever is a departure, a turn away from an older sound. To say that wouldn't do justice to the subtle transition of this album. Here we see a songwriter at that most delicate moment of transformation. Holding on to some things, letting go of others; always building a new world, looking forward, looking back, always singing:"I gave it all I got/Held onto everything tight/I know I'm not coming back/I'm not erasing this track."
Melanie Valera's third full length album moves away from some of the more exuberant dance oriented songs of past years into a darker and more melancholy direction. Maybe it's her current residence in the damp and dirty Pacific Northwest, maybe its a little adulthood. Whatever it is, we get a deeper, denser sound. These songs push through the forest as the evening comes, dripping wet, the lights of a little house up ahead. What No Snare retains is Valera's emotional clarity and eloquence. We are always invited to her world, feeling what she feels without exception. Valera keeps her lyrics light on their feet, moving with ease around the complexities of her compositions, her vocals rolling hard with the strength of conviction.
Throughout Tender Forever's work there is a commitment to understanding feelings and desires and seeing them through to completion. No Snare pushes through the wake and lays the turmoil to rest. What comes next is still unknown. In this darkness of loss and change there is a beat, a drive. Feel the shake from those little computer speakers, hear it grow and pulse through the woods. Watch as the evening comes and look toward the morning.