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Friday, August 28, 2009

Review: Patrik Tanner – Quills

Patrik Tanner – Quills
2009, Dark One Entertainment

St. Louis Park, Minnesota's Patrik Tanner is relatively young for a man with eight albums under his belt. The native of Sweden who moved to the US at a young age transcends genre on his latest effort, Quills, released on September 12, 2009. Highly personal and introspective, Quills recalls memories of the music of Tanner's youth as well as drawing a life full of influences and sounds. Written, played and produced by Tanner, Quills will wend its way into your consciousness with songs firmly rooted in memory and reverie but always looking forward.

Quills opens with The Next Available Agent, a sauntering instrumental that sets the tone for the album. There is a theatric feel here, like Tanner envisioned you finding a seat and getting comfortable while he prepares you to listen to all he has to say. Eleven is a powerful piano-based tune about being on the verge of something but taking the time to enjoy where you are, like the conflict between pushing to be an adult yet enjoying being a child. A Moment In Time is a sweet singer/songwriter moment about memory and how it can both overpower and engender regret. Like Platform Shoes is a highly personal song of remembrance looking back on loved ones and times gone by. The song is highly sentimental and full of meaning, although it may evade some listeners. Our Vacation Starts Now serves as a brief and quirky instrumental intermezzo, leading into phase two of Quills.

My Boy is a touching song from a father to his unborn son; it's a beautiful tribute to a love that often gets under-represented in song and art. Beautiful Then looks forward into a future more aesthetic and full of goodness than the perceived moment; Tanner imagines himself dead and creating beauty below in the grass he feeds. It is a stark and depressive outlook set to a bright and sunny piano part that simultaneously makes it easier to hear and yet somehow more disturbing. Staying Up Late underlines the effects of depression and confusion on thoughts and actions; this seems to be the underlying element of the disc: the death of Tanner's mother and the grieving/healing process. Rebuild The Titanic is all about going back in time so you can end the suffering sooner, likely a fitting end to the album, although Tanner gives an instrumental outro called Still Holding that harkens back to the old days of radio dramas.

Sorrow. Anger. Fear. Frustration. These are the emotions wrapped up in Patrik Tanner's Quills. It is a bleak album with occasionally uplifting sounds. I didn't enjoy it. I respect it. It's a serious work with strong songwriting, excellent musicianship and vocals that are more than pleasant to listen to; but the subject matter is too dark and twisted for my tastes. Some of you may like it. Imagine Robert Smith on pep pills.
Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

To learn more about Patrik Tanner and Quills check out or You can purchase Quills as either a CD or download through

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