As I was casting about for new music this week I ended up looking toward Michigan and came upon the recent release by Detroit’s The Tellways which is titled Out To The Cosmos. I gave it a listen and came away impressed by the composition of the music and the nice way that they weave Motown and R&B influences in with island sounds. Soul and reggae music have always had a subtle equivalency to me and those parallels are evident within the music on this record.
The lead-off track is “Anxious” and it is a good listen with a slightly (and appropriately) nervous undertone, simple yet poignant message and some very nice horns 🙂
The next song is “Keepin’ Me Up” and you can definitely hear those Motown influences within the music. That call-back to soul and R&B was evident within the first minute and yet was still subtle enough to blend in well with the Caribbean rhythms.
“Believe Them The First Time” has a slow, soothing flow to it and delivers a direct and simple message. I really liked how the horns were woven in here also and the way they provided accents to the other instrumentation on this song. I have listened several times and this remains my favorite on this album.
That is followed by “I Don’t Need To Tell You” and “Cool And Luke” which flow nicely within the album although I did not think they were especially notable other than the beginning to “Cool Hand Luke.”
When I read the title of the next track, “Space Force,” I was not sure what direction it was going to take…and I am still not 100% sure of its underlying intent. Humor? Sarcasm? It remains a mystery to me but I did find the line, “we brought our own water,” to at least be quite funny.
“Tellway Stomp” is a feel good song celebrating the band’s sound and positive influence and is followed by “You’re Really Something (2020)”, another track where you can really hear the R&B vibes. The next three songs (“Closer – 2020”, “Let Me In -2020” and “Friendly -2020”) are solid inclusions, with the middle track of the three being the standout. It runs a close second-place for my favorite song on the album.
The album closes out with “Bow To Your Sensei (2020)” which is a very good (mostly) instrumental track with solid composition that includes horns, and some great guitar and bass. It feels a little heavy when listening but puts a nice finishing touch on “Out To The Cosmos” and sent me away feeling good 🙂
Overall I really like this band and what they bring instrumentally and with their direct lyrics. When you listen to this record is comes across mostly as a reggae / ska mix but you definitely find yourself with several pleasing, “Wait, what was that?,” type moments. And it will certainly get you feeling groovy and dancing!
You can check out all of The Tellways music and info at their Bandcamp page https://thetellways.bandcamp.com
And please remember to support your local music scene, musicians and artists. Community is powerful 🙂