Listen to the split here:
The bands first made the announcement of the split release earlier this summer. The release features one song from each band (“Eloise” by The 92s and “Rope Swing” by Tara Terra).
The 92s’ track features vocals from Tara Terra’s Emily Otnes, Alleya Weibel, and Rachael Wilson, while frontman Dan Durley also sings on Tara Terra’s side of the split.
“We’d been talking about doing something like this together for over six months, because we all really respect each other as songwriters and performers,” Durley said. “I’m not sure if there was a plan to collaborate initially, but we were both going to be in the studio at the same time recording both songs so it just sort of made sense.”
The entire split was recorded at Earth Analog studio in Tolono, Ill. and was produced by Tara Terra guitarist Colin Althaus, who most notably worked on Champaign-Urbana band Motes’ debut full-length Keep It in the Dark earlier this year.
The bands will be having a release show when they officially put out the split tomorrow night at The Metro in Chicago. You can find all the information on the show here.
The split features some of the best produced recordings either band has released to date. The 92s haven’t released anything since their 2014 debut Television Fuzz, which had already been years in the making. Durley’s songwriting shows growth since the tracks written for the band’s debut LP as he makes an unpredictable transition: Durley’s songwriting doesn’t follow the traditional singer-songwriter route of becoming more complex, and often over-complicated, but instead gets stripped down to the bare necessities. The frontman flourishes in his ability to execute vocal melodies and focuses primarily on this, minus what’s still a well-fitting guitar solo, on “Eloise.”
Tara Terra’s side also features their best recorded work to date, primarily due to Althaus’ direction behind the scenes on the track’s production. The song opens with a clean, thematic intro that feels more like an unveiling of a curtain than anything else. It has the potential to come off as cheesy but manages not to as the song avoids a jarring transition into a glitzy sing-along like “Don’t Call Me Darlin'” and instead continues with the intro’s serious tone and dynamic. Violinist/vocalist Alleya Weibel’s violin doesn’t feel unnecessary as it did at times in previous recordings and fills out the background’s layering comfortably, while the laser-like guitar tone Althaus perfected for himself strikes through the track like a hot knife and then pierces like a pin with a wonderfully complementing and appropriate use of harmonics throughout.
The 92s/Tara Terra split release does exactly what it aims to do. It gives a taste of what the both bands can be when they’re at their best and when they’re working with the best recording tools available to them, both in personnel and equipment.