On Friday, June 23rd, Tandem Felix releases ‘There’s a New Sheriff in Town’, the first single and titular track from their self-released second album, due October 20th, 2023. There’s a New Sheriff in Town follows Rom-Com, the critically acclaimed 2019 debut from the Dublin-based project of David A. Tapley.
Speaking about ‘There’s a New Sheriff in Town’, Tapley describes it as “a song that contains a somewhat unreliable narrator speaking about things that are slightly similar to their life but not exactly. It’s a good representation of the album because a lot of the songs share that perspective.” It demonstrates a progression not only in Tandem Felix’s sound but Tapley’s portrayal of personal experiences across his astute songwriting.
Tapley says of his lyrical approach to Tandem Felix’s latest offering, “When I listen back to Rom-Com, it’s funny to hear how much of an idealistic fool I was. The songs on There’s a New Sheriff in Town are a lot more embittered, more jaded. I wanted to make the songs world-weary. That’s how it came together initially, although lyrically nothing was intentional, so to speak. I tend to save that for the music-side of things instead of the words. The words just happen, or at least, I let them happen.”
He continues, “I think I have a kind of brief for myself everytime I do a musical project,” Tapley considers. “With Rom-Com, I wanted to make the most colourful record possible so there’s lots of poppy sounds, weird sound effects and splashes. It even goes down to the artwork, which is a cartoon. There’s a New Sheriff in Town’s artwork that also reflects the mood of the songs; everything’s gotten a little darker.”
Collaborating once again with Stephen Dunne in their Dublin studio Porto Bello, Tapley notes the importance of this “symbiotic working relationship” – which, outside of Tandem Felix, has seen them produce Neil Dexter’s 2022 debut album I’ll Be Ready – by saying, “I need Stephen around to make Tandem Felix music. I need him around for his psychological detail and his ability to picture the songs in his head as finished pieces which is something that I’m not able to do. He’s able to visualise the finished product a lot better than I am and keep steering me towards that image.”
The dynamic tonal palette and textural details that characterise There’s a New Sheriff in Town, written and recorded between 2020 and 2022, can be heard on the title track which heralds a new direction for Tandem Felix’s sonic sensibilities. This renewed approach saw Tapley welcoming a number of guest contributions such as B.J. Cole (who played pedal steel on Elton John’s ‘Tiny Dancer’), Ian Romano (Daniel Romano) and Joseph Shabason (Destroyer, The War on Drugs), each of whom add rich flourishes to Tandem Felix’s multi-faceted rock arrangements.