The music of Chattanooga musician Tessa Lynn Plank exists in loose scrawls on worn hearts and in the differing illuminations of our personal experiences. Through a ramshackle folk and bare punk noise, she digs deep into some dark thoughts and their related consequences. There’s a bitter humor housed within these bits of rough-hewn acoustics and fractured melody. She finds and exposes the things we generally try to hide, the events that both shape us as individuals and mark us as part of something larger and more complex than we could ever imagine. On past albums, she found a way to successfully navigate these communal rhythms while still offering us a unique and disconcertingly intimate portrait of personal growth and evolution.
On her latest record, “Ambition and Delusion,” Plank opens up her previously threadbare but effective aesthetic and allows a few more sounds to wander into the mix. Her stripped-down folk-punk vitriol is still ever-present, but the songs themselves feel a bit denser and more arranged than on previous releases. And while those records possess a wonderful emotional and musical brevity, the tracks on “Ambition and Delusion” opt for something a bit more universal, although her penchant for nuanced detail hovers over the landscape like a lyrical shroud. Guitars clatter and drums beat away while Plank pines for some semblance of stability in a world that all too often favors insecurity and doubt.
She’s never been one to shy away from the fragility and raw nerves that mark the walls of a wounded heart, but there’s always been a determination in the face of apathy and obstacle to overcome, to push past stereotypes and approach a common ideology with those around her. Her music is an extension of her personality, both raw and relatable in terms of its emotion and honesty. She’s proven herself an apt investigator of serrated insights on previous releases, but on “Ambition and Delusion,” she aims for something a bit loftier. She’s still concerned with the assimilation of galvanizing experiences, but here, she explores a deeper and more thought-provoking rhythmic perspective.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.