Tilian – Material Me
Record Label: Vital Records
Release Date: March 19th 2013
Vocalist Tilian Pearson has had a rather strange couple of years. After being kicked out from experimental/progressive outfit Tides of Man, the singer released a few solo songs on his YouTube and Soundcloud accounts back in 2011. I’ll get to those later, but Pearson was rumored to join fellow experimental band Saosin after former vocalist Cove Reber stepped away from the mic. Well, the band recorded a few demos with him, but nothing came of that. After being in a band called Archives (now known as Night Verses, I believe) for a brief time, he finally settled on Dance Gavin Dance. Without digressing too much, I’m very excited for whatever they release with him. Back to his solo material, however, in 2011, he released a few solo songs that were much more stripped down and had a rather “indie” sound to them. As one of my favorite vocalists, and still to this day, I was eagerly waiting for a solo record by Pearson. Well, 2012 went by, and nothing at all. Thankfully, he finally announced a release date at the beginning of the year, and I was very excited for it. He did release a few songs from the record, and I really liked them. What’s interesting, though, is that they were much “poppier” in their sound. They reminded me of Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump’s solo material, because his solo record was very poppy and even had some R&B elements to it. The difference here is that Tilian’s voice is much more suited for indie-pop/experimental, so that’s where his debut solo record Material Me goes; it’s either very stripped down with an indie-pop feel, or just full fledged pop music that makes you want to get up and dance. There’s nothing wrong with that, and in fact, it’s done quite well. It’s pop music with substance, as I describe it. It’s a refreshing take on a vocalist that’s known for a different kind of music, just like how Patrick Stump is known for pop-punk and Fall Out Boy, but on his solo material, fans get to see him in a different light. It’s this same kind of mentality that Pearson has with Material Me. It’s worth mentioning that Pearson goes by Tilian now, which is cool, because I’ve never met or heard of another man named Tilian, so his name is very unique. Material Me is a record that may take a lot of fans off guard, but in a good way. It’s different from Tides of Man, Saosin, and Dance Gavin Dance, but it shows Tilian at his best as well. Maybe not lyrically, but vocally, it surely does.
The record starts off with “Now or Never,” and it features former Woe Is Me/current Issues vocalist Tyler Carter, and while I don’t care for him anymore, his guest spot is brief, and doesn’t really do anything for me. He isn’t in the song for very long, and that’s a good or bad thing, depending on your feelings on Carter. Regardless, Tilian takes the stage here as he should. The song itself has one of the two different “sounds” on this album; the songs tend to be on the poppier side, with synths and keys taking control of the song, or on the more “indie” side, with acoustic guitars and Tilian’s vocals being in control. This song has a poppy sound, but that’s not bad whatsoever. It starts off the record on a very energetic note, which is really good. Lyrically, it’s not a bad track, either; surprisingly, the lyrics aren’t that bad, despite being different from anything Tilian has written before. Second track “Someday” is kind of a mix of the two sounds, really, because its verses are have a rather indie-pop vibe, but the chorus is huge, spacious, and just absolutely beautiful. It’s one of the best tracks on the record, in all honesty. That song really does a nice job of blending the two different genres on the record, or at least, the two different vibes that I get. Fourth track “Chemicals” is actually one of the very first “new” tracks I heard from this record, and it’s nice it appears early on in the record, so I do have a sense of familiarity, but this is where more of the “poppy” sound comes into play. This is a song that just makes the listener want to get up and dance, but the lyrics do have some substance to them. Who said all pop music was mindless and generic? It’s not. A couple tracks afterwards, sixth track “You’ll Forget Me Soon” was actually one of the first solo tracks Tilian debuted on his YouTube channel, while the first track he debuted was seventh track “Favor the Gods.” Both tracks are a couple of highlights for me, because I loved the original versions. On Material Me, Tilian did change them a bit, however. “You’ll Forget Me Soon” is much more upbeat, and even features a female vocalist as well; “Favor the Gods” is a more upbeat as well, but is the highlight of the record. Tilian’s vocals are insanely powerful, and they really are showed off on this track.
The rest of the record doesn’t really quite recover from the first two-thirds, but “Ghost” is another one of my favorite tracks. This song has lyrics about Tilian falling in love with someone, and reassuring himself that it’s not a dream, and that love is a not a ghost. It’s quite a lovely track, and it’s one of the catchiest songs on the record as well. Closing track “Feel It Again” is the only track that kind of makes me scratch my head a little bit, however. This song is another pop track, but it’s rather shallow, in the sense that it’s about Tilian meeting a girl in a club, immediately falling in love with her, and wanting to “feel it again,” as the lyrics proclaim. It’s a rather shallow track, but it’s still enjoyable. Although, I do wonder why it was placed at the last track. A track like “Ghost” or even tenth track “Flutter” would’ve closed the album a lot nicer. I can’t complain, though, because this record is wonderful. If you’re a fan of frontmen who want to expand their horizons by going into genres you wouldn’t necessarily see them in, like pop, R&B, indie-pop, etc, etc, this is definitely a record you won’t want to pass up. It shows Tilian in a new light, but it’s not completely different, either. Tides of Man’s last record with him, which was Dreamhouse had a lot of “catchier” songs on it, and a few of the songs on here really follow in that format. Tilian’s vocals are wonderful as always, and shine on songs like “Favor the Gods,” “Up In the Air,” “Chemicals,” and “Someday.” The lyrics aren’t half bad, even if they can be a bit generic sometimes, such as in tracks like “Up In the Air,” and “Feel It Again.” For all of you Tilian fans, this should satisfy your craving of music from him while he works his debut record with Dance Gavin Dance.