Tunnels – The Blackout

Tunnels – The Blackout

Continuously evolving his sounds, Tunnels has been the moniker for musician Nicholas Bindeman for quite some time now. At first a droning experiment that reached into psychedelia with mixed results, Bindeman was always someone known for chasing a wide-open world of sounds. And now with a pulse on the bass lines in his music and with a varied outlook on pop music and song structure, The Blackout glistens as one of Tunnels’ finest releases to date.

Taking hold of the driving bass Bindeman infiltrates the music with a rugged personality built around 80s influences and synth-driven electronics. Where artists like The Cure step in for much of the impact, Tunnels’ music travels through a space that finds Bindeman venturing into new territory. On “Deux” the snare drum introduction is a slick opening for the pulsating affect of the bass. Bindeman’s vocals are shrouded with effects that paired with the album’s atmospherics, make for a relatively welcome adaptation. Even on “How I Hate You”’s lulling keyboards, Bindeman finds a way to make the vocals sound complete and well-adjusted. The music pushes along with a supportive synth and pressing against the electronic roots make for a realized moment when the siren blares in.

Delving into style that is far more focused on the feel and mood, The Blackout benefits from the album’s scaling electronics. On “Volt 1979,” the song creeps in like a take from The Go! Team’s Thunder, Lightning, Strike before the compelling guitar solo breaks through and later on “Solid Space” Bindeman crafts a swelling mass of keyboards and synthesizer. Again, the bass is relied on heavily – especially on the latter song where it acts as the motor to the song’s ringing transformations. Instead of tackling a singular style or sound Bindeman has opted for a heavy hand at the production style of the 80s, thus allowing Tunnels’ music to prevail on terrific atmosphere.

The album’s closer, “Moon Bombs,” takes the role of delivering something ominous and open-ended with inspired results. Drifting into a lost world of sounds and spectrums, Bindeman guides the same repetitive melody throughout the explosions happening around him. After an album of songs that are all devoted to the misty feeling of keyboards, there’d be no better way to end it than with a song solely built around the spectral touch of a synth. Taking a knowledgeable view on music and engrossing all of his strengths, The Blackout is an oncoming of outstanding songs. Even with an evolving sound, music is still capable of rousing and for Bindeman, the proof lies now and ahead.

Thrill Jockey