Forever enrobed in pink, complete with fuchsia cowboy hat, lead vocalist of Tiña (pronounced “teenyah”) Josh Loftin acknowledges the catharsis of writing to release the pain in lead single ‘I Feel Fine’, “the only time I feel fine / is when I writing it down”. While the sound is slightly reminiscent of The Beatles’ ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’, the psychedelic and slightly bizarre track has a dark core, brimming with the façade of false positivity, opening with solitary parallel of bass and guitar which emerging into a sunny and full chorus in contrast to the reality of the lyrics, “it’s all a lie, said everything you learn is a big lie / Better tear it down now, before you build it up too high”.
The aptly named Positive Mental Health Music is an exorcism of heartbreak and faltering mental health: written during the reverberations of a difficult breakup, the title is not perhaps explanatory of the album but an aspiration to achieve a more optimistic outlook. Tiña’s music features Loftin’s unmistakeable and endearingly nasal falsetto, most notably on ‘Rooster’ and ‘Dip’, an acquired taste for some, which is remarkably eloquent – singing in these higher registers allows him to convey pain and anguish in an astonishing, and somehow still uplifting, way.
In opener ‘Buddha’, Loftin launches us straight his mental state post-breakup, struggling with the fear and loneliness of sudden solitude while being unsure how to cope with this alienating mood. “Everyone I know is doing better than me / they say “Josh, you’re doing the best that you can” perfectly portrays this feeling while gently reminding both himself and the listener that it is OK no to be OK, the much-needed rhetoric championing mental health, men’s in particular, which has been too long ignored.
‘Golden Rope’, a spaghetti western of galloping drums and rousing chorus, embodies Tiña’s essence: dark and austere lyrics, bleakly portraying a man in the throes of heart-break and crisis, but performed with an almost paradoxical joie de vivre. A standout track of ironic vivacity, it glides into the plaintive despair of ‘It’s No Use’, perhaps the nadir of the album, heart-wrenching in its simplicity and beauty. But while this may be the low point, it shows that there is a way out, for things can only get better.
The album finishes with chirpy and uplifting ‘People’, the musical light at the end of the tunnel as the protagonist sees clearly those around him who have supported him through his struggle. Emotion is audible throughout this journey of an album, an eloquent and poignant portrayal of waning happiness yet it feels like a comfortingly optimistic and, of course, pink hug. Positive Mental Health Music fledges and falters at times but ultimately makes the leap, as Tiña announce themselves, perhaps not as the ‘pink messiahs’, but indeed a strong and positive energy much needed in the bleak and gloomy atmosphere of adulthood.
Header image: Tom Delion