Release date: Friday 6th November 2020
On pink vinyl
Freud’s process of therapy was famously labelled the ‘Talking Cure’ – through the act of conversation participants received cathartic relief. Positive Mental Health Music (PMHM), the debut album from South East London band Tiña, stems from this idea. Lead singer/songwriter Josh Loftin explains that he used the songs to “work through a mental breakdown”, and that for him “writing is like solving a mystery”.
The 11 track LP provides an honest and intimate portrait into this process of self-examination, covering themes of anxiety, depression, love, sex, isolation, fear and failure. Yet, PMHM is anything but a difficult listen: the tracks are catchy, lively – even danceable at times. Loftin’s cooing vocals, his lyrics poetic yet slightly self-mocking, sit atop a blend of psych-pop keys, drums and guitars, all guided by the shepherding hand of producer Dan Carey.
After singles ‘I Feel Fine’ and ‘Dip’, Positive Mental Health Music is the first ever LP to be released on Carey’s Speedy Wunderground label.
PMHM demonstrates Loftin working through a mental struggle, and this same process of growth and examination is applied to the band’s creativity: “the seed of the songs come from Josh, and as a group we change bits of structure, add different melodies and harmonies” says Lester.
The group recognise that this wouldn’t be possible without cultivating a sense of openness with one another “it’s about the courage to have honesty with yourself and those around you” says Lester. This communality has allowed the band to become much more than just a backbeat to Loftin’s writing, the album is expertly orchestrated, with superb interplay between instruments resulting in a rich and diverse sound. Cartwright explains, “in our own work we have an interest in pop structures, and we’ve pushed the compositions to be more like hits”, “we try to make them go to interesting places, creating moments” says Lester.
Sound-wise the band are “painting with genres of guitar music” according to Cartwright, with “Country, Grunge, Indie-Rock-type flavours all showing up” adds Armstrong. The emotive strokes of a cello on ‘Rosalina’, ‘It’s No Use’ and ‘People’, add a warm, artisanal woodiness to the LP. Subtle harmonies from Cartwright and guest vocalist Lottie Pendlebury (Goat Girl) compliment Loftin’s vocal range, which extends from an almost child-like voice on ‘Closest Shave’ and ‘Dip’, to the raspy screams of ‘Growing in Age’. “He reminds me of Kermit doing Kurt Cobain – which I mean in the best possible way of course” says Armstrong.
3. I Feel Fine
5. Closest Shave
6. Growing In Age
7. New Boi
8. Golden Rope
9. It’s No Use