They were a band who have never reached to the surface of the media, or to the surface of our tv's and radios. Still, they are well known for those who are aware of the underground twee music scene. Or at least, what it used to be. Also, they were one of the first bands to sign with Slumberland.
Although they have never released a LP, Black Tambourine managed yet to influence a few current bands that are on tour right now as The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Dum Dum Girls, Crocodiles, Veronica Falls.
Pamela Berry's vocals are the sweetest instrument to go along with the raw and noisy guitar. You could never imagine a voice like that singing about perverted stuff.
Their sound is unique, angsty and sweet at the same time. The ep "By Tomorrow" is one of the clearest examples: Black Car sings about being in love with someone that will never look at you in the same way, By Tomorrow is about breaking up with your partner, Drown is about revenge and Pack You Up is basically the sweetest way to say "fuck off" to your boyfriend.
|By Tomorrow's EP cover, released in 1991|
But what I especially love about them is the collision between the vocals and the guitars and drums, the sweet and the bitter, the heavy and light, the lovely and the awful (just a way of saying it). Of course, My Bloody Valentine had done it before, but not in the same way as Black Tambourine.
In my opinion, Black Tambourine would be much closer to Jesus and Mary Chain's "Psychocandy" or Beat Happening's "Black Candy" rather than something labelled as twee pop like The Pastels or The Vaselines (even though I don't really find The Vaselines that much twee). I guess I would say that I find Black Tambourine closer to noise pop than to twee pop. Anyway, labelling a band with a genre isn't that important.
Not to mention how funny I find the fact that they did a song about Aggi Wright, ex-bass player of The Pastels, since she was Stephen Pastel's girlfriend and Pam Berry had a little crush on him. Her crush made a wonderful song!