Hearing Aide: Tart Vandelay ‘Flow’

In nature, flow is associated with movement, like water rippling down a current. In psychology, finding flow is associated with engaging in an activity which brings on a feeling of being energized, focused, fully aware and conscious. Rochester indie pop artists Tart Vandelay have linked these concepts in their new release, aptly entitled Flow.

The jazzy four-track-long collection paints a landscape filled with images of whipping whirlpool winds, relentlessly echoing rays of sunshine, midnight moonlight, and misty rain clouds. The elements of the cosmos become metaphors for emotional states, as a story unfolds about facing fear and uncertainty. Tart Vandelay isn’t just stopping to smell the roses; they’re making a mindful exploration into the cyclical rhythms in the universe and tendency for tumult to succumb to order. Songstress Katie Halligan draws from her own experiences when writing, however her words strike a chord deep within. She taps into her uncanny ability to connect what’s personal to what’s common to the human experience. “Sun, melt away by fright, tell me it’s alright,” she pleads in the song “Cloudy Doubts.”

Book ended with birdsong, the instrumentation on the album mirrors the sentiment of the songs and compliments Halligan’s crisp, sparkling vocals. Marty LoFaso’s jazzy guitar work serves as a vibrant accompaniment. The bass line provided by Pete Zamniak and percussive stylings of Christopher Dubuc-Penney intersect to form in an undulating groove that adds dimension to the soundscape. The music demonstrates restraint during the apprehensive disquietude of the first two songs “High Noon Haze” and “Lonely Girl.” Then it swells during “Cloudy Doubts,” before reaching a magnificent crest in “Drifting.” 

As the sequel to last year’s debut EP Frontier Pioneer, Flow offers further proof of Tart Vandelay’s endearing ability to uplift and inspire through music. Recorded at Wicked Squid Studios in Rochester, and produced by Josh Pettinger, Flow is available on Bandcamp. You can follow Tart Vandelay on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Key tracks: High Noon Haze, Cloudy Doubts