The five-piece Minneapolis-based band Tabah is often called out in the local press about its vocalist, Cecelia Erholtz. The word “Earthy” gets used a lot, and while not inaccurate, it leans into a place that is smaller than what is actually required to describe her. As a matter of fact, Erholtz’s “Earthy” vocals communicate something more universal than what could be attributed to any one planet. They could be “Jupitery,” or “Saturny,” and even Heavenly on Tabah’s debut album "Symmetry Somewhere," scheduled for release on March 17th, 2017.
Erholtz’s powerful voice – she also contributes on guitar – needs a powerful band to support it. Grounded, if you will. Earthy? Tribal. It comes in the form of the adept playing of her classically-trained bandmates, Jeff Ley (guitar/vocals), Charlie Bruber (bass/vocals), Andrew Seitz (keyboards, vocals), and Murphy Janssen (drums/percussion.)
Together – and Tabah’s musicians really do sound like they are playing together – the band takes this music to a unique place where psych-heaviness and ethereal-wisp combine in a way that hasn’t necessarily been heard like this before. Consider this: "Symmetry Somewhere" is a head-bobbing, mind-bender of an album that was recorded in Nashville, and could pass for folk in its quieter moments, but is still loud enough to piss off neighbors by blowing off their doors.
Recorded live to tape, with minimal overdubs, the band worked tirelessly during the day at Welcome To 1979 Studios, and then retired to a cattle ranch just outside of Nashville where they would meet at a gazebo near a frog pond. That place soon became a temple where the five would find themselves reflecting, releasing, and crafting closely amongst relaxed moonlight, soft mornings and Southern thunderstorms.
“We became so close on that trip that it sometimes feels like we’re still there,” Bruber recalls. Perhaps "Symmetry Somewhere" is the sound of trust and distrust combined then, a document of the band’s evolution from five into one. “A balancing act of destruction and perseverance,” as Bruber terms it.
At the end of the day, however, Tabah is pragmatic when it comes to this, encouraging listener interpretations rather than trying to define them. Describing Tabah as a “blank and meaningless canvas,” Bruber continues, saying, “We are eternally grateful for the ways people have perceived us so far, and we believe that this album will finally allow listeners to get a sense of what we are really going for in our music.”
So far, it’s made a lot of sense for the Minneapolis NPR-affiliate, 89.3 The Current, which has consistently supported Tabah since the band’s first EP release in 2015, giving the single heavy rotation and naming it one of the best local tracks of the year. The resultant sell-out crowds at Tabah’s hometown venue, the famed 7th Street Entry, have only further cemented the group as a must-see live act in the city; a mystifying, haunting, soulful experience that will now go national with the release of the new album, and tour to follow.
Now that "Symmetry Somewhere" is completed, the members of Tabah continue to seek – personally and also professionally – through their visceral ability to connect in meaningful ways with their rapidly expanding audience. Now they have the tangible result of this pursuit. The new album is already in their hands and ears, and soon, in yours. As for what can’t yet be physically grasped, it’s still waiting for us to discover. It might be Earthy. It’s definitely out there.
The debut album "Symmetry Somewhere" by Tabah is scheduled for release on March 17th, 2017, preceded by the single “Curtain Call,” streaming now. See Tabah on tour this spring.