Tera Melos
Patagonian Rats


3.0
good

Review

by Eno USER (34 Reviews)
September 6th, 2010 | 416 replies | 34,346 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Tera Melos could've created the funnest noise of the year if they weren't so busy trying to be a pop band.

9 of 12 thought this review was well written

What the hell happened to math rock, anyway? Bands like Slint and Shellac were unabashedly disturbing, focusing their songs around dark repetition and tedious rhythmic patterns. Forerunners of the genre represented everything about minimalism, creating textured atmospheres with the most basic, fundamental tools. From that defining point the genre has expanded in, ironically enough, the most maximal way. The style has gone through numerous progressions ranging from the jubilant, angular instrumentals of bands in the vein of Giraffes? Giraffes! and Piglet, to the quirky indie pop of technically-minded groups a la Battles and Fang Island. Tera Melos marked their place in the genre with their unique self-titled record, expanding upon the genres usual wankery and tastefully including jazz dynamics and lush electronics. The album was rewarding in the way it went against the grain, incorporating crazed freakouts that channeled the essence of The Mars Volta combined with eery atmospherics. And now Tera Melos have embraced their technical skill and ran amok, leaving their previous aspects behind them.

Patagonian Rats is delightfully noisy and nothing about the instrumental work comes off as half-assed. The band's trademark shaky guitar riffs jangle through endless melodies, constantly switching up rhythm and tone. It's not like every track sounds like the grind of "Another Surf" or the mass reverberations of "Kelly"; the melodies are quite charming. However, each song holds common ground in that the instruments all feverishly avoid finding their niche throughout the record. Which is all fine, to be honest. The effects-laden guitars generate youthful energy, the unpredictability being idiosyncratic in all the right ways. But there's one tiny little inclusion present on this record that nulls all of the positive qualities previously mentioned: the vocals.

While Patagonian Rats is undeniably more frantic than their previous releases, the actual songs have a serious pop edge and the vocals seal this aspect, lazily dropping hook after another. One may assume they have taken the "Fang Island route" as far as their new vocal components go, but there is a heavy distinction seeing as Fang Island's self-titled brought in group vocals along with tightened songcraft, while the inclusion of indie pop singing on Tera Melos' new LP only highlights the incoherence of the record. It's the juxtaposition of endless mathy indulgence and earnest pop vocals that bring down this record and ruins its truly unique qualities. This isn't quite so noticeable as the first serious track "The Skin Surf" opens up, the vocals sounding reminiscent of surf-rock and flowing right along with the track. But as the album continues on and branches out, one can't help but feel that the vocalist is desperately trying to keep melodic while adapting with the crazy pace of the instruments and it just doesn't work. When emphasis is placed on the vocal hook, the instruments are plagued by their directionless nature. And in the context of the music the vocals sound meaningless, dropping melody after melody but never making their presence definable or interesting.

At the end, there's no sense to make of this record. The crooning melodies sound lifeless when matched up with the intense instrumentals. The guitars, on the other hand, sound amateurish and grating whenever a new motif is introduced. Due to the album's ever-changing nature, the most enjoyable moments come in small fragments. However, in context of the record, it doesn't make up for the sloppiness. It's sad because one can hear the lack of focus dedicated to individual aspects of the album, the record's different qualities being lazily mixed together. Patagonian Rats could have been a fun-ass math-pop record if there wasn't a different vocal hook for every change in the music. They could've created a great noise rock record if they didn't compromise meandering silliness with earnest harmonies. When an individual track is picked out, the album's incoherent sound isn't immediately present. Nevertheless, when the album is played as a whole, there is absolutely no flow and it ends up being a collection of tunes that wander around overzealously and end up losing their sense of purpose. Patagonian Rats is a disjointed piece of work, occasionally finding a sweet spot, but rarely making a statement.



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user ratings (321)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
CharizardOysterSauce (4.5)
This album is a masterpiece, many will argue being their best to date, but i personally believe each...

nicholasarthur (4)
Tera Melos takes their best elements from previous albums, experiments with new elements, and effort...

mecca (5)
Patagonian Rats kicks ass and doesn't bother taking names. The band's usual jazz is all but gone. ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Enotron
September 6th 2010



7695 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

http://teramelos.bandcamp.com/

thank you to Sea for editing my review, I hope I attended to everything.

SeaAnemone
September 6th 2010



20049 Comments


review is correct... you basically said what I was thinking and said it pretty well. people like this which is fine... but idk I don't really all that much.

Digging: Natural Snow Buildings - The Night Country

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
September 6th 2010



31097 Comments


Album's pretty bleh

Digging: Banks - Goddess

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
September 6th 2010



17920 Comments


oh were slint math rock

Canyons of Static
September 6th 2010



638 Comments


Album's pretty bleh

Yep

SeaAnemone
September 6th 2010



20049 Comments


oh were slint math rock


he didn't necessarily insinuate they were, he followed it up with "forerunners of the genre" which I'm pretty sure they were

Enotron
September 6th 2010



7695 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

i'd say so, though some would say post-rock

first paragraph does have a bunch of namedropping, but I tried to avoid focusing to long on that

Lakes.
September 6th 2010



26977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

yeah this sounds overrated alright, i think it'll still be on the 3.5 side.

Digging: Talk Talk - The Colour of Spring

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
September 6th 2010



17920 Comments


well seaenemy looks like you have been proven wrong

crazyblinddude
September 6th 2010



3389 Comments


Interesting review. I still need to give this album a few more spins, but I can definitely understand your arguments.

porch
September 6th 2010



8453 Comments


good review, haven't heard this though

Enotron
September 6th 2010



7695 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

it's trivial, seeing as they were the forerunners of both genres

SeaAnemone
September 6th 2010



20049 Comments


I have been embarrassed and ashamed, never again can I return to this thread.

Tits McGee
September 6th 2010



1876 Comments


i need this i guess

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
September 6th 2010



17920 Comments


i am more inclined to agree with the people giving this 4.5s than everyone in this thread

Enotron
September 6th 2010



7695 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

@chambered ehhh party with gina was my favorite. this was originally like a 3.5 for me, but I just can't make through the entire
thing as a whole

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
September 6th 2010



31097 Comments


I'm inclined to agree with my thoughts on this album

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
September 6th 2010



17920 Comments


whoa

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
September 6th 2010



7091 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This was a really awesome review Eno. I actually love the vocals in every way, which is something I
never thought would be true with this band. I think it's the perfect mix of poppy and mathy.

I might be biased by the fact that I've been listening to as much math rock as possible lately, and
it's really nice to hear something fresh in the genre like this.

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
September 6th 2010



7023 Comments


Haven't listened to this yet but I'll probably end up in the 3 crowd rather than the 4.5 crowd.
Yeah.


Digging: FKA twigs - LP1



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