Tim Toz and Joy Tolbert, long time music veterans, have learned how to adept to a world forever altered. Tolbert lodged time in the 1980’s as a member in an all-girl band named Starchild who turned up in all the major NYC clubs of the day. Multi-instrumentalist Tim Toz is also a songwriter, producer, and engineer who has discovered a perfect artistic foil in Tolbert; Toz creates imposing walls of sound, including all the requisite elements, that emphasizes the drama driving Tolbert’s lyrical content and vocal pyrotechnics. The considerations towards construction shown towards the song result it in the finished product being one of the most impressively solid musical pieces recently released. The tension building arrangement has the right amount of release points scattered throughout the song and, musically and vocally, Toz and Tolbert know just when to pull the trigger on these instances.
“Pieces” has a distinctly modern sound attached to rock songwriting fundamentals. A blink-and-you’ll-miss it keyboard introduction a quasi-majestic electric guitar passage, then Tolbert and Toz sweep us into the song proper. Toz contrasts so many opposing sonic elements in the first minute that it can feel a bit dizzying, but when we land in the first verse and the acoustic guitar emerges, it has quite a soothing effect. Toz’s contributions to the song are, most importantly, found in moments like this. He has a teal knack for constructing arrangements that zero in on the inherent drama while scooping listeners up by surprise or playing to their familiarity. There are a number of exhilarating moments and other passages that will hit home for listeners thanks to its resonance with earlier songs of its ilk we’ve heard. There’s even a light, barely discernible modern country influence too – note how the slight twang in Tolbert’s voice when the first verse opens neatly dovetails into Toz’s acoustic guitar for a almost, shockingly Americana feel.
The lyrical content is sharply specific without ever robbing listeners of a chance to hear the song in their own way. Tolbert has a strong talent for emotiveness and sharpening each line to the gleaming edge of its dramatic potential. Such attentive phrasing maximizes the song’s impact. She has clearly spent much time listening to Toz’s musical accompaniment and has gone to great trouble tailoring her vocal to the backing track. She also modulates her vocal appropriately – caressing certain lines while bearing down on others without ever exceeding the boundaries of taste.
“Pieces” is the sort of song that restores the faith of the cynical. When you hear the drama and exuberance coming from this song, it’s impossible to not feel drawn into its orbit. There’s no remaking the wheel going on here. Instead, TnT Music knows how to wring new variations from dependable forms and frame them in such a way that it seems new, fresh, and completely signature. No one else could have done this song. Let’s hope there’s more to come soon.