Remember 10 Things I Hate About You? Well, Out Of The Garden, the third full-length album from Minnesota-based band Tancred, reminds me of that movie's opening moment when the Bare Naked Ladies cede to Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation," the captivating riffs of Semisonic's "F.N.T.," and when Letters To Cleo play "Cruel To Be Kind" at prom and then Julia Stiles remembers she doesn't need a man, all wrapped up in one kickass record.
Out Of The Garden, which is out April 1 via Polyvinyl, is a full-on blast of power pop with an angry shadow behind it. Lead singer and songwriter Jess Abbott's voice sounds like it came straight out of 1999; she's got those perfect, subtly nasal pipes that sound like the sweetest, chewiest, most long-lasting bubblegum. Abbott uses her mastery of her sugary vocals to get her subversive femininity under your skin, and dares you to cross her as she challenges societal norms. The album's title is meant to bring up imagery of exiting the innocence of Eden, and thus Abbott flaunts her sweet voice to its full advantage as she struts into a world that judges her for being herself. Do I want to save the world or just cut out its insides?, she asks on the record's opener "Bed Case," and "Not Likely," blows a toxic bubble in your face: Rabid like a dog, I could take you out/ Don't test me. While inviting us in with the catchiest of hooks, Abbott reminds us to back off and let her do her thing—She said don't be like that/ I told her to shut up.
“The record is about scrapping expectation, feminine or otherwise," Abbott wrote to The FADER over email. "It's about doing what makes you happy while sifting through the bullshit of society. It's about the juxtaposition between being an object of sex and an object of violence, about abandoning expectation and replacing it with freedom. You know, not giving a fuck what anyone thinks about it.”
Tancred rages against the destruction (emotional and physical) that patriarchal norms cause (or, as Alana Massey put it, the fact that, among other things, "Womanhood is still characterized for many as the expectation that we quietly possess the wisdom and wounds of an oppressive world not designed for us but the weight of which we are expected to carry regardless"). On Out Of The Garden, Tancred takes the innocent, hyper-feminine sound of late '90s and early '00s sugar pop, injects passion and fury, and twists it all into eleven full force anthems for being brazenly who you are.
And with that said, stream Out Of The Garden in its entirely below. You can preorder the record here.