Label: Polyvinyl / Hand in Hive
Released: 1st June 2018
With every passing record, Tancred (AKA Jess Abbott) evolves in unexpectedly beautiful ways. Now onto album number four, ‘Nightstand’ is the most forthright and assured Abbott has ever sounded – and it makes for some deliciously syrupy pop songs, awash with cool textures and hooks that sink soul deep.
And it’s these hooks that bite hardest. Take ‘Queen of New York’ – a song about one night stands and the internal monologues that take place afterwards. It’s a dense and thematic rumination set to a three-minute pop song that deftly combines the deep and meaningful with reckless pop abandon. ‘Reviews’ takes this blueprint of considered lyricism and breezy indie-pop and stretches it to a euphoric peak, while ‘Hot Star’ – arguably one of the finest pop songs of the year – is a boundlessly entertaining earworm that will strike a chord thanks to its wry lyrics and preppy charm. It’s smart too, serving up bundles of relationship advice in its all-too-brief three-minute run time.
Elsewhere, sombre and considered turns on the likes of ‘Clipping’ and ‘Just You’ prevent ‘Nightstand’ from becoming too saccharine, adding gravity to its obvious appeal. The result is a masterclass in pacing and storytelling, with Abbott orchestrating a world where pop and purpose live together in perfect harmony. Rob Mair