Things start going downhill rather quickly on “Sour Cherries,” the new single by Chicago four-piece Tenci. The band, who has gigged locally with Philly faves Hop Along and Friendship, releases its sophomore album A Swollen River, A Well Overflowing next month, and this is the third teaser of it. The song begins with gentle arpeggios and lead singer Jess Shoman’s lullabye coo, but an opening couplet of “How did you get yourself here / When your leg is dripping blood” creates a simmering undercurrent of dread.
“Sour Cherries” progresses through several movements, growing stranger and more disquieting as drums and horns emerge like figments out of the mist. In the vein of Black Country, New Road’s Ants From Up There or “Bull Believer” by Wednesday, this is an epic that isn’t afraid to take the listener on an ambling odyssey. The end goal: emotional catharsis, delivered here by Shoman’s deranged ululations as she raves about “Sweet poison / Wrap your arms around me” — the sleep paralysis demon in the center of what has become a nightmare. Of course, the song vanishes before you can get your arms around anything, but the feelings it provokes are deliciously hard to shake.
Listen to “Sour Cherries” below. A Swollen River, A Well Overflowing releases November 4th via Keeled Scales, and Tenci will be playing PhilaMOCA on Monday, November 14th. More information can be found at the WXPN Concerts and Events page.