When Tallows’ two-song demo surfaced on their Bandcamp site last November, expectations mounted in anticipation for a proper full-length. This was understandable, given the promise exhibited by these four fresh-faced locals on both “Soft Water” and “Small Talk” (the aforementioned demo), songs that were staggering in their conceptual ambition.
Nine months later, we have Memory Marrow, an equally staggering full-length debut that sees Tallows pushing — and often shredding — the envelope in which their demo was packaged.
Musically, the album isn’t really a departure, per se; it’s a progression, both in sound and composition. The instrumental palette is expanded to include a heavy electronic influence, while the arrangements have become even more quick-witted and intricate. And despite its touchstones (of which there are several: twee pop, dub, math rock, et al.), Memory Marrow exists in a realm occupied by no one else, locally or beyond.
These nine songs are simultaneously epic and restrained, playful and resolute, calculated and from the heart. Tracks like “Flat Bones” and “High Brow” stimulate the body, the brain and the spirit. Perhaps most importantly, Memory Marrow represents a sea change in Oklahoma music, one that could potentially render conventional wisdom — and thus, expectations — irrelevant. —Zach Hale