With his fourth EP Stuck, Tanner Carlson draws on his personal experiences during the pandemic. Through the tracks, he unleashes his struggles with a long-distance relationship while exploring commitment to a passion. All of this is packed around the guilt, mania and confusion that many of us felt during the pandemic.
While the EP does draw on his experiences, there is a universality to the feelings he brings to his sound. Created completely on his own, Carlson puts his skills to the test to achieve high-quality recordings that shine through the soundscape. While studying Audi Engineering at university, he is generating a buzz around his music that we can completely get behind.
The EP opens with the title track ‘Stuck’ which brings the story of his struggles with a new long-distance relationship. Taps into your brain with a really interesting movement that bops against your ears before static crackles. This is a wonderful melodic device that helps to create the feeling of distance and isolation from someone you love. Over this, Carlson’s vocals bring a light push that has your head bouncing to his performance. There is a contrast of emotions woven into the track as you are filled with the affection he feels for someone but dragged down with the struggles of being far away. It is a really gentle track that brings a delightful wash of emotions as you sink into the soundscape.
‘Big Decisions’ has a hazier wash to the opening that hum and flow like mist through the high levels. Thrumming below is a bassline that vibrates in your chest. The melody is perfect as it sonically represents the exploration of commitments to passions in the lyrics. Carlson’s vocals have a raw feeling to them as he considers committing while wondering if this is the best decision. There is a feeling in the single that you need to give up one passion to focus on another and that this is a serious decision that requires a lot of thought.
The deep bass of the last track makes a lighter appearance in the opening of ‘Thin Line’. There is a really youthful energy to this track as it strives to bring happiness and a carefree feeling to the EP. While the melody is able to do this through light arrangement and airy instrumentation, the lyrics bring a more bittersweet feeling. As they detail everything Carlson would love to do in a relationship but can’t because of the physical distance between them. The chorus is ridiculously catchy and will have you singing along while tapping your feet to the rhythm.
‘Burberry Covers’ brings a mature sound to the EP with a guitar line that gently calls to your spirit. The vocals are confessional as Carlson draws you close and lets you hear his thoughts and feelings. The quick shuffles of the low levels that come and go throughout the track add texture to the melody and strangely make you smile. You can hear his authenticity through his performance as he fills you with a wonderful strength to stand up for what you believe.
The EP comes to a close with the warbling opening of ‘Something Around Me’. There is a wonderful layering to the sound of this track as the warbling tones soothe you while the beats get your heart beating a bit faster. Against this sound, the vocals explore a range of emotions from guilt to confusion. Throughout the track, the instrumentation comes in like a sonic representation of the different emotions while the vocals are thoughts swirling around. While the track can sound quite minimalistic, there is a great depth to the arrangement that brings the swirling of emotions in our heads to life.
Tanner Carlson brings a range of emotions to your soul as he dives into struggles and swirling emotions in Stuck. The EP has five very different songs that carry a wonderful melodic thread connecting them into a cohesive whole. Through the tracks, Carlson showcases his musicality and amazing ability to infuse various emotions into both his vocals and melodies.