San Francisco five-piece Tiaras was formed when members of Ganglians and Blasted Canyons merged to form a power pop outfit that’s ultra-bright in comparison with their murkier roots. Back in September they shared their dreamy first single, “Anyone and Everyone“, and in about a month they’ll be releasing their self-titled debut LP.
“Thought I Could Know” breathes new life back into new wave nostalgia. Its hooky jangle of electric guitars against smooth, reverberant vocal lines feels pleasantly familiar in its warmth, the off-kilter interplay of singer Ryan Grubbs’s melodies and the lulling, wordless harmonies recalling The Dwight Twilley Band. But the song makes turns that feel fresh amid all today’s emergent power pop. Grubbs’s voice escalates to greater and greater heights to match the outgrowth of tingling synth sounds and jittery guitar lines, and it’s clear that this is where the group’s magic lies—in taking their sound beyond where others would think to stop. The track is a meditation on regret, encapsulated in the persistent refrain of the words “take back,” but Tiaras make it awfully hard to resist dancing despite all the muck of emotion.