Mental health issues are at the center of the latest release from South East London’s Tiña. Aptly entitled Positive Mental Health Music, this record approaches issues like anxiety, depression and loneliness with a counter balance of levity, companionship and great guitar music. Frontman and vocalist Joshua Loftin doesn’t shy away from expressing his deepest darkest thoughts. In this record we find him confronting these issues in colorful detail, at the same time examining them while building a whimsical world of psych pop around it. All in the hope – according to the opening, “Buddha” – “that this song does something for someone, and if not, at least I’ve got a song”.
This central premise shapes the whole record, as we find Loftin maneuvering through complex thoughts over riveting guitars and jovial keyboards. Along with that there’s a light and dark dynamic that shifts with every song. “Rooster” has a jaunty energy to it, with bright and cheerful melodies that interweave into a crystalline lattice. “Closest Shave” is at the other end of the spectrum, the track still maintains a humorous attitude – complete with a jeering wolf howl that appears out of nowhere – but at its core this song examines an episode of suicidal thoughts while questioning the involvement of a father figure in its formation.
Similarly “Growing in age” laments on how modern life is gradually regressing into isolation: “Seems like a joke How everyone hurts But no-one says thing, out in the world.” “Now Boi” feels like a carnival ride filled with existential musings over bluesy riffs and cajoling melodies. “Golden Rope” follows with a galloping surf rock rhythm – like something urgent reaching out and chasing you. It speaks of a golden rope “hanging in every room”, a constant nagging feeling that’s both creepy and cathartic. Even as a coping mechanism, these songs don’t look away from stark realities. And that’s the beauty of it – as it something that a lot of us could look to within ourselves.
Thankfully, the album ends on a high note. “People” is a hymn that celebrates the friends and family around you. Misery loves company, and there’s a lot of them around. As Loftin sings: “The sun is rising, moving, now setting So why do you seem so bored?” There’s plenty to be thankful for out there and plenty more to experience.
Positive Mental Health Music is a pleasant wave of catharsis on a subject that more people are suffering with these days. It provides positivity without shying away from its dark truths. This is the highlight of this record, and it’s something that more people should have access to in their lives.