Dntel Human Voice Leaving / Stones Throw
Last year, when The Postal Service reformed for a victory lap to mark the 10th anniversary of their solitary LP Give Up, Jimmy Tamborello found himself performing live as part of an expanded line-up. Incorporating all manner of guitars, live drums and electronic wizardry and an impressive lighting rig, it was a widescreen, ambitious realisation of the band’s sound and appeared in front of some huge rooms: at the tour’s peak, the band played two sold-out nights to tens of thousands at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
It’s surprising, then, that his first post-tour release under his day job moniker of Dntel seems like such an introspective, restrained affair. Where previous records like Life Is Full of Possibilities and Dumb Luck threw in the occasional crackle of drama to go alongside Tamborello’s well-established penchant for cloaking pop sensibilities in layer upon layer of synth, Human Voice is instead altogether more exploratory, more experimental. There’s no real semblance of traditional song structure, so instead you’re left to define each track by its standout moments; the softly pulsing beat on Fringes of Focus, what sounds like Tamborello’s own take on an 8-bit video game soundtrack with Bike Path and the cleverly-pitched, atmospheric ambience of closer Ashby are all cases in point. Probably best not to expect it to be ringing out around the arenas he frequented last year any time soon, but Human Voice is certainly an intriguing turn for Tamborello.