A large part of the appeal of dream pop is the ability to transform the listener into a different world. The wall of sound, the ethereal vocals, and the hazy ambiance result in a record—at least if done well—that can take you on a surreal journey.
That’s exactly what the debut album from Toronto’s Tallies does. The Canadian band’s sound—much like a haunting dream—is both familiar and different somehow. Tallies relies on a lot of dream pop’s hallmarks; vocalist Sarah Cogan’s almost twee tone evokes more upbeat indie pop, and a surf rock wavy bounce permeates the album’s runtime. However, this is dream pop all the way, with everything seemingly being broadcast from just beyond the speakers.
The album itself traces the individual members’ growth over both Tallies and 2018—stories of frustration and anxiety that mesh well with a sound that feels like it would be best blared through a car stereo along the Pacific Coast Highway. That dreamy surf aura lends a hopeful feeling to even the bleakest lyrics, and it creates a fairly carefree vibe to the band as a whole. You get the sense that these Canucks really are flustered with life, yet, they realize the best way to go through life is by embracing the weird and wonderful.
That attitude really amplifies the band’s charm. Sure, the middle of the record drags a bit, and there aren’t a whole lot of stunners on Tallies, but this is a dream pop act who isn’t afraid to eschew the dreary feel of their contemporaries. Life sometimes sucks, but with the right mindset, you can have some good fun along the rough ride. That’s Tallies in a nutshell.