Tomberlin announces her new album, i don’t know who needs to hear this…, out April 29th via Saddle Creek. To mark the occasion she has shared a video for the album’s lead single “happy accident.” The album is available for pre-order in a number of exclusive variants.
“‘happy accident’ is a song about relational obscurity. Trying to sort out who you are or who you were to someone,” says Sarah Beth Tomberlin of the song.“Is this relationship romantic or is it just sex? Do you want to spend time with me or are you just bored? Do I make my own decisions that are good for me or are my decisions predominantly based on what I think you might want or need? I was kind of walking through moments in previous relationships in my life. I wanna know why someone wants to get to know me. Do you want to know me or just your idea of me? Do I want to know you or just my idea of you?”
The song features Cass McCombs on guitar, Felix Walworth on drums and Philip Weinrobe, who also co-produced the album, on bass.
“The theme of the record,” Tomberlin explains, “is to examine, hold space, make an altar for the feelings.” Hold space: Tomberlin’s songs do it literally, making it heard space. Her full-length debut, At Weddings (2018, Saddle Creek), was widely praised for the sparsity and delicacy of its instrumentation, especially in contrast with the emotional heft of her lyrics.
Here, the space feels larger and holier, built to echo. Pedal steel. Old acoustic guitars, freshly plucked. A drifting synthesizer. Chill, brushy percussion. Ambient, expansive clarinet and saxophone. Aleatory piano trills, a lot of piddling with the occasional splash. The looseness and wideness of the arrangements conveys a tender regard for their parts, as though each arpeggio, loop, scratch is a found shell or feather in the hand. Then there is the instrument of her voice, which has the endearing quality of being perfectly tuned but reluctantly played. “I’m not a singer,” she sings on “idkwntht.” “I’m just someone who’s guilty.”
Photo Courtesy: Michelle Yoon