Where Are We From (KLP237)
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There is protectiveness in the fist that holds a bag of wolf teeth. These incisors are each of the songs held inside Tender Forever’s fourth LP. To spend time with this magic while the first of the fall leaves suicide bomb your bare feet, and the cicadas are strangely silent, is like feeling the phantom sting of your own baby wolf fangs where they once bit into your most vulnerable parts.
The songs on Where Are We From are wise messages like barbwire around every bend of every word, intentional and concise. The intensity behind But you seem to love it all, You don’t struggle though you fall, Falling is not giving up, for you it’s just how we’ve met, in “The Road Was Unkind” shows singer/song writer Melanie Valera's beautiful belief in the tenacity of all of us. She compels us to be brave and braver still, to find the light of community even if our days look dark.
There is no mistaking that this new LP is about the strength and the grit that carries us and others over monoliths and into our life journey. There is such sweetness in the heightened pitch of ”You Have The Woods:” We got safety, We got knives, We got the world that’s what we got, We get buried in the ground whenever people think it’s time, We got rationality, We got boredom and that’s free, You got the woods, you don’t have to choose--pay heed to her timbre listener, Tender Forever has got your back. And while the underside of Tender Forever’s heart is still in full view for anyone to rest under and breathe raggedly until the hard stuff slides out of focus, there is something more steely wrapped around her ribs as each of these songs clinks against them. The raw and syrupy swell of the vocal talents poured over the near wildness of the percussion holds fast to the balled up fists and clenched jaw of the lyrics. It is a truly unique and perfect union.
Tender Forever’s new album takes lost souls by the hand to create a chain of blinding light that leads to freedom and togetherness. I know you know what love is like, I held you near, I held you tight and I don’t understand it and I don’t want it from the song “Runaway” illuminates Melanie's usual heart out approach to lyrics, but also shows us her battle scars and flexes her survivor muscles. Each song is impeccably different from the last and yet together, the collection is undeniably holistic and tightly interlaced.
This is what you listen to on a road trip to your new self, louder than everything as the interstate ahead of you ribbons into dust and the blur of life is a distraction of sparkly lights. This is what makes your hands beat into your steering wheel and your head throw backwards to a sing along. This is what you listen to when you need to shrug off an old armor in order to be reborn and washed clean while a steady hand gently pushes you in the direction of growth. Where Are We From is your new path, should you be brave enough to walk it.
- Alysia Angel
Where Are We From
The Road Was Unkind
You Get Into My Face
You Have The Woods