Fret-tapping is an alternate way of playing guitar that creates very percussive rhythms out of melodic sounds. Instead of strumming each note, the guitar player taps a finger from the fretting hand against each note on the fretboard. The mesmerizing rapid hand movements are a neat side benefit.
Oklahoma City band Tallows uses this technique frequently and to great effect. During the song “Small Talk” last night at The Buffalo Lounge, two guitarists and the bassist each hammered away at their fretboards. The resulting intricate indie rock was impressive in composition and performance.
Tallows’ music includes elements of charming indie pop, fast ’n’ loud indie rock and ambient electropop. They occasionally mesh these together, but more often set the sections next to each other for contrast. The band thrives off these interchanges, playing up the rhythmic and melodic differences between the sections.
Hearing the band stop on a dime and zoom off in another direction was an electrifying experience for me and the rest of the packed-house crowd. The perky, youthful tenor of the group’s lead vocalist meshes perfectly with this diverse sound, delivering sweet melodies one moment and leading hollered group vocals the next.
Their dense, rhythmic, involved sound was a ton of fun, and I look forward to hearing much more from Tallows in the near future. —Stephen Carradini