Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

The first time I heard Tomten’s single, “Ta Ta Dana,” I was in the middle of an “anywhere but here” kind of day. The song opened up with a swelling organ that dropped me right into the 1960s – not the patchouli and weed ‘60s of my imaginary memory, or the psychedelic 60s of Austin Powers. Tomten dropped me into the fabulous '60s of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, where all drinks come in stemware and broken hearts are worn on trés chic sleeves. But instead of kissing in the rain, Tomten’s hero drives away, all alone in his little grey sports car.

Well, life got in the way and I didn’t get around to telling you guys about the Ta Ta Dana EP, so I’m super happy that Tomten turned around and put out a full-length album, Wednesday’s Children, right on its heels – and damn if it isn’t just as good as the EP. This Tomten may leave you a little more melancholy than Astrid Lindgren’s 1961 cozy bedtime story by the same name, but it’s every bit as lovable. With these shimmery harmonies and beachy guitars, every track could be a long-lost treasure pulled from a milk crate full of vinyl discovered in an attic. Tomten never breaks character, creating a period authenticity that is so much more than “retro.”

Wednesday’s Children accomplishes what all of the best art does – it wraps you in an atmosphere so complete and visceral that it continues to feel real even after you move on. Tomten scatter a little bit of John Denver’s Grape-NutTM crunch in some places, while the title track serves up some dreamy moments worthy of The Beatles. The synths and distorted guitars on “Bertolt Brecht” channel The Doors a little, and “So So So” is a perfect vehicle for The Supremes. “Springtime in Tangier” and the rambling closer “Rhododendron Road” would both fit the end credits to one of those grainy, heartbreaking, sepia-toned love stories that never end with a Hollywood screen kiss. But even when the ending isn’t happy, it’s always beautiful, which can be a lifesaving feeling to take away from a piece of art.

{Tomten play the Columbia City Theater on Thursday, June 14 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 and are available here. Wednesday's Children will be released for sale on June 19.}