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TENDER FOREVER

There is protectiveness in the fist that holds a bag of wolf teeth. These incisors are each of the songs held inside Tender Forever’s fourth EP. To spend time with this magic while the first of the fall leaves suicide bomb your bare feet, and the cicadas are strangely silent, is like feeling the phantom sting of your own baby wolf fangs where they once bit into your most vulnerable parts.

The songs on Where Are We From [KLP237] are wise messages like barbwire around every bend of every word, intentional and concise. The intensity behind But you seem to love it all. You don’t struggle though you fall. Falling is not giving up, for you it’s just how we’ve met. in “The Road Was Unkind” shows beautiful belief in the tenacity of all of us. It compels us to be brave and braver still to find the light of community even if our days look dark.

There is no mistaking that this new EP is about strength and the grit that carries us and others over monoliths and into our life journey. There is such sweetness in the heightened vocal pitch of ”You Have The Woods”: We got safety. We got knives. We got the world that’s what we got. We get buried in the ground whenever people think it’s time. We got rationality. We got boredom and that’s free. You got the woods, you don’t have to choose. Pay heed to her timbre listener, Tender Forever has got your back.

While the underside of Tender Forever’s heart is still in full view for anyone to rest under and breathe raggedly until the hard stuff slides out of focus, there is something more steely wrapped around her ribs as each of these songs clinks against them. The raw and syrupy swell of the vocal talents poured over the near wildness of the percussion holds fast to the balled up fists and clenched jaw of the lyrics. It is a truly unique and perfect union.

Tender Forever’s new album takes lost souls by the hand to create a chain of blinding light that leads to freedom and togetherness. I know you know what love is like, I held you near, I held you tight and I don’t understand it and I don’t want it in “Runaway” illuminates her usual heart out approach to lyrics, but also shows us her battle scars and flexes her survivor muscles. Each song is impeccably different from the last and yet together, the collection is undeniably holistic and tightly interlaced.

This is what you listen to on a road trip to your new self, louder than everything as the interstate ahead of you ribbons into dust and the blur of life is a distraction of sparkly lights. This is what makes your hands beat into your steering wheel and your head throw backwards to a sing along. This is what you listen to when you need to shrug off an old armor in order to be reborn and washed clean while a steady hand gently pushes you in the direction of growth. Where Are We From is your new path, should you be brave enough to walk it.

TRACK LISTING

1. Where Are We From
2. The Road Was Unkind
3. Blue
4. Wrestle
5. You Get Into My Face
6. Runaway
7. You Have The Woods

"No Snare" is less a rejection of things that have been, as it a reconfiguration. Take away the snare and there isn't loss, just a new song. As we pass through the flood of moments that is our lives we make a constant stream of decisions as to what to hold on to and what to let go of. But – even as it changes radically – it is always our life. It will be said that this new collection of songs from Tender Forever is a departure, a turn away from an older sound. To say that wouldn't do justice to the subtle transition of this album. Here we see a songwriter at that most delicate moment of transformation. Holding on to some things, letting go of others; always building a new world, looking forward, looking back, always singing: 'I gave it all I got/Held onto everything tight/I know I'm not coming back/I'm not erasing this track'.

Melanie Valera's third full length album moves away from some of the more exuberant dance oriented songs of past years into a darker and more melancholy direction. Maybe it's her current residence in the damp and dirty Pacific Northwest, maybe its a little adulthood. Whatever it is, we get a deeper, denser sound. These songs push through the forest as the evening comes, dripping wet, the lights of a little house up ahead. What "No Snare" retains is Valera's emotional clarity and eloquence. We are always invited to her world, feeling what she feels without exception. Valera keeps her lyrics light on their feet, moving with ease around the complexities of her compositions, her vocals rolling hard with the strength of conviction.

Throughout Tender Forever’s work there is a commitment to understanding feelings and desires and seeing them through to completion. "No Snare" pushes through the wake and lays the turmoil to rest. What comes next is still unknown. In this darkness of loss and change there is a beat, a drive. Feel the shake from those little computer speakers, hear it grow and pulse through the woods. Watch as the evening comes and look toward the morning.

'Tender Forever causes you to feel heartbroken and awesome all at once ... (Melanie Velera) is sweet like Cat Power with lyrics that'll make you feel like one tough bitch. Somewhere between the piano, guitar, keyboards and saucepan, her quiet yet intimidating powerful voice will grab you and send your finger to the repeat button over and over'. - Playgirl Magazine.

STAFF COMMENTS

Laura says: I love the stripped back simplicity of this album. The stark melancholy is lifted by simple warm electronic pulses. Lovely stuff.

TRACK LISTING

1. Got To Let Go
2. Like The Snare That’s Gone
3. Only The Sounds You Made
4. Nothing At All
5. Day Number
6. But The Shape Is Wide
7. Nowhere Good Enough
8. Unfortunate Friends
9. When I’m In The Dark And You Take Away The Dark


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