Falling For Trans Atlantic Crush's New Album 

Sea of Dreams is classic TAC with a modern twist

We all float on a Sea of Dreams.

Album cover art by Abdelkarim Delassi

We all float on a Sea of Dreams.

If such roles existed, Jim Cochell, Josh Tyler and Jonah Walton could be the official spokesmen for long-distance relationships.

Known collectively as electronic synth-pop band Trans Atlantic Crush, the members of the trio are based in Boise, Nashville and Kansas City, respectively. But three is a magic number, and like their sound, the musicians have a modern-meets-classic sensibility, using technology not only to stay in touch but to collaborate artistically. The result is both an enduring friendship and a new album, Sea of Dreams (self-released, March 16), the band's best to date.

Like so many musicians, Cochell, Tyler and Walton juggled their daily lives with writing and recording Sea of Dreams. In this case, though, the trio also had to figure out how to work together while being geographically so far apart. As they talked via Skype about making Sea of Dreams, however, the miles between them became mere inches, both actually (on screen) and metaphorically.

"We all work remotely. That's kind of the way this [album] was put together," Tyler, TAC's lead (and backup) vocalist said. "We did what we're doing right now," he added, laughing.

Email, phones, and file-sharing and video chat software made an otherwise cost-prohibitive venture possible.

"We weren't in the same room during [the making of] this entire album. Not one time," Walton said. "We did it all over the internet, which is pretty cool."

Although this iteration of TAC is only about a year old, Cochell and Walton have played music together for about 10 years, and Cochell and Tyler have been playing together since the early '90s. Plus, previous TAC albums were recorded more traditionally, so Sea of Dreams is also new in that it's the first time the band has made an album remotely. It may not be the last.

"Coming from my perspective, there was more free range for every member," Cochell said. "I would sketch out an idea and then bounce it off the guys. They would take it and work in their own environment with it, and they'd come back a couple of days later and present their ideas. It was more of a collaborative effort. It really was—and it was freeing."

Songs like "Glitter and Gold" evoke a sense of both collectiveness and autonomy. The track opens with determined little notes. Layer after layer of synth is added, building into an orchestral swell that rises until it crashes into and embraces an addictive dance beat. Rolling across, through and around the notes is Tyler's voice, his lush tone pensive then plaintive as he sings, "Twisted words with no voice / You reach out / I have no choice / I'll be your everything when you lose control / Be your everything when you're letting go / 'Cause our love is the essence and meaning / It's glitter and gold." Tyler said this song "holistically" encompasses the three elements of TAC's sound: his voice, Walton's production (including bass sounds and beats) and Cochell's synth.

"Those identify what we like to call 'the triangle.' [It's] our family of sound," Tyler said. "That is our triangle."

And therein lies the magic of three.

click to enlarge TRANS ATLANTIC CRUSH
  • Trans Atlantic Crush

Sea of Dreams is available on CD, as a digital download and on Friday, March 23, on vinyl. Visit the Record Exchange or transatlanticcrush.com.

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