There’s something charming about Tilman Hartley’s debut LP. It feels thrown together, messy, unfinished even. But it’s precisely this freestyle approach to music making that makes To Basics unlike any other album we’ve heard yet this year.
It takes common elements of indie – guitars, melody, the instrumentation, the arrangement – and structures songs in a familiar way. But there’s a feel of self-production to this that makes it stand out from the usual. It’s a distinctive approach, and one that makes the album one worth hearing.
The sense of humour displayed in album highlight Belle Du Jour is enough to demonstrate a genuine writing talent – it will be interesting to see whether the next release will see a tightening of production. For now though, this is a promising start.
There’s no doubt that opinion will be divided by Tilman Hartley. Some will see the appeal in the rawness on show, while others will point to it as a weakness. But the lyrical content alone is enough to tell us that, if smartened up a bit, the next album could be something really unique.
To Basics is out now.