Tania Notaro, a Dublin based singer/songwriter released her debut E.P. ‘Blind and Bound’ back in 2014. The four track collection showcases Notaro’s own mix of rock, blues and jazz. For ease of categorisation the style is ostensibly rock music. Word has it Notaro is influenced by Janis Joplin and Grace Slick, so the par is set high from the get go.
Kicking off the EP is ‘Someone Has To Come’ which is suitably titled due to its sultry blues tone and slow pace. The track is smoky and leaves a considerable void for Notaro’s vocals to fill which works really well. She commands the space and it has a drawing in you in nature about it. The only thing I felt was the track could have built up more aggressively and there is a part where a build is imminent but it falls a little flat. A good example of getting it right is Zeppelin’s ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You.’ If you like that track you’ll appreciate what Notaro and her band are doing here.
Moving on, ‘Always Wanting More’ is a nice departure from the down-tempo ‘Someone Has To Come’, with a more innocent and bouncy reggae vibe. The vocals are unfortunately more aggressive than the track requires and a bit blare-y for my taste. Having said that the music is spot-on and I’m sure it’s a great live track as most reggae styles translate really well in a gig scenario with good vibes!
‘We Are Lost’ is an intimate piano ballad and draws you in to the voice again. The piano and voice reign dominant in this song. It’s a beautiful track and with some slightly glossier production it could easily be a chart-able number. The only thing I found was it had a perpetual build about it that never really came to fruition. The vocals got a bit more aggressive and kind of worked but the music never reached that peak so you didn’t get the payoff you would expect from a world class ballad. I think this track could have been more if the music was written to get to that place and finish with a bang but instead it just kept going at medium intensity. It seems like a missed opportunity here but writers never stop writing so there’s always next time.
‘Blackened Trees’ is the final track from the ‘Blind and Bound’ E.P. It has a dingy blues bar sound to it and really suits Notaro’s tone. This type of sound doesn’t do much for me generally as you can hear it in any blues/rock bar on any given Sunday so it is hard to engage with it fully. The 12 bar blues is a well beaten path so I do find it amazing that so many bands try their own stamp on it, it’s just so difficult to draw the artist out from it. For this track I’d have to plead ignorance and advise any blues lover to give it a whirl but I think unless you are a dedicated blues artist it is a bit of a dead end.
‘Blind and Bound’ is Tania Notaro’s debut E.P. and it draws from many styles and comes across as a solid understanding of rock music, but not necessarily as it is today. This is very much a collection of bygone eras and seems intentionally so. Notaro is a very capable singer and writer with a great band behind her. If you enjoy rock music from all decades then you will certainly relate to ‘Blind and Bound.’ If you want to catch Notaro live she has a regular spot in the Gypsy Rose in Dublin every Thursday.