Tera Melos
X'ed Out


4.0
excellent

Review

by Lucid CONTRIBUTOR (17 Reviews)
April 11th, 2013 | 54 replies | 4,945 views


Release Date: 04/16/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Pop hooks and guitar noodling! Done better, this time.

For those of us who've been on Sputnikmusic for half a decade or so, the name Tera Melos brings back fond memories of a different era of this community; in the years past this band's self-titled, the site was heavily geared towards emo, math, and hardcore scenes, predominantly by the influence of staffers such as Greer and Dillon. Tera Melos were math rock royalty, oft recommended and highly praised. I mention this to suggest that X'ed Out feels like an anomaly - the audience that would've hotly anticipated its technicality back in '07 is now barely visible on this site. But let’s not digress in nostalgia: the Tera Melos of 2013 is as attention-grabbing as ever, thrust back into the spotlight with what could be the band's most cohesive statement yet.

X'ed Out sees Tera Melos tightening up their fusion of math rock and pop with thoughtful songwriting and implementation. It reveals Patagonian Rats as a transitional work in their discography: that album introduced vocal hooks to their highly technical sound, yet was blatantly inconsistent, the singing at times engaging but usually frustrating the listener. Despite potential, the execution was ultimately head-scratching, brilliant ideas lost to haphazard ambition. X'ed Out rectifies these issues with taut song composition: take lead single "Sunburn," do do dos gliding over fluid guitar leads in the verses, offering a natural retreat after the major-key choruses. Elsewhere, "Tropic Lame" ingrains breezy surf rock with active guitar patterns, adding buoyancy to an otherwise straightforward exploration of 60s surf. In committing to their pop inclinations, Tera Melos avoid a scatterbrained end product; relegating the "math" in their songwriting to structural support rather than focal point was a gold decision, one that's paid off immensely. Thus, by thoughtful revision and clear self-assurance, X'ed Out hits notably more than it misses.

The psychology of X'ed Out cannot go without mention: in chasing pop euphoria with hyperactive arrangements, strains of fatigue and anxiety serve as a harsh reminder of reality. Just look at that album cover, a palm held to a pained forehead, yearning for relief from the colorful squiggles, shapes, thoughts of an overwhelmed mind. Various tracks play with this concept: "Until Lufthansa" bursts out with all its energy - restless guitar patterns, uplifted singing, a mind-bending rhythm section – but becomes acutely aware of its exhaustion come the bridge, hollowed-out vocals yearning for resignation amid overstimulated guitars that just won't quit, the body fighting against the reason of a mind that's come down-to-earth. In the album's midsection, "Melody Nine" locks into an offbeat groove as anxious whispers drift about, only finding relief in the wordless dejection of a heavy, guitar-fronted chorus. "Bite" is straight-up hungover, thick basslines in disagreement with spirited choruses, slumping shoulders back to stagnating verses. There is outsized desire in this music, yet that comes with nagging truths: that our bodies have physical limitations, unable to keep up with desire for instant gratification; that the rush of stimulants inevitably ends with an unforgiving crash. So "X'ed Out and Tired” closes the album in sobering reflection, thoughts of regret ("something that I didn't mean to swallow… maybe next time I'll try to be more careful") drained out for the conclusiveness of "maybe I just need to go to sleep." Tera Melos look beneath their elated sound for genuine strains, not shying away from the gloom of the expected hangover. That these ideas are thoughtfully integrated into a centaur of math and pop has amounted to one of the most impressive albums of the year. Could X'ed Out be the release that restores Tera Melos back to the status of household name on this site? I have some faith, Sputnik. Let's see where it goes.



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user ratings (147)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Tyler. (3)
Wasted Potential...

Jacob R. STAFF (4)
As unequivocally odd as it is accessible...

Tony Li (4.5)
Say what you want, but these guys are still the best experimental avant-garde dream math pop rockers...

Hernan M. Campbell STAFF (4)
Accessibility and technicality intertwined....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 11th 2013



10056 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really nice review, man. It's cool to see you writing more around these parts. I enjoy the album as much as you, for sure-- I also agree that Patagonian Rats was one hell of a strange transition for the group.

A couple minor things:

do do do's gliding over fluid guitar leads


I think you can leave out the apostrophe after the last 'do.'

But let's not digress in nostalgia: what are Tera Melos playing in 2013, and how have they progressed as a band?


If this sentence was as attention-grabbing as the rest of the first paragraph, I think it'd flow much better. Sentences like these, while pretty well-intended, are often pretty unnecessary. Maybe you have a different question you'd want to ask here?

Overall, really good work though. =]

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

hogan900
Contributing Reviewer
April 11th 2013



1601 Comments


good review, pos'd. Gotta listen to this sometime.

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
April 11th 2013



7023 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sharp feedback there, nice seeing a voice agreeing with my writer doubts on that sentence (it's pivotal, so thanks for zeroing in).
I certainly plan on writing more this year. With an improved attitude as well (was inappropriately dickish at times in the past - apologies abound). Had to work some stuff out with myself.

Digging: FKA twigs - LP1

hogan900
Contributing Reviewer
April 11th 2013



1601 Comments


Bite is pretty solid.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 11th 2013



10056 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No worries, man. We all have those rough days, that's for sure. The last couple of months in particular have been a bit rough for me, but you always find a way to put everything back into order.

I'd like to create a more consistent reviewing schedule. My life's been too unpredictable for anything of the sort, and when I do write it feels subpar. Sometimes it takes a creative spark, whether it be literature or musical material itself!

EaglesBecomeVultures
April 11th 2013



5222 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

dang bruv you've been churning the awesome reviews out

digging this record a lot

Digging: FKA twigs - LP1

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
April 11th 2013



3440 Comments


Good review, have a pos. These guys are coming to town with TTNG this May but it's tech week for our school's musical so I won't be able to go unfortunately.

FelixCulpa
April 11th 2013



1239 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I am digging what I'm hearing from this album. Nice review as well, pos'd.

klap
Staff Reviewer
April 11th 2013



10311 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

omg two lucidity reviews in a week?!?!?!

Digging: Literature - Chorus

Kris.
April 11th 2013



12262 Comments


you're reviewing more!



i'm ok with this

Yazz_Flute
April 11th 2013



18770 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Kris your avatar is big how.

I've been really enjoying this album of late.

Digging: The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Kris.
April 11th 2013



12262 Comments


i have been elevated to the upper echelon of sputnik user

akimbo
April 11th 2013



634 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

great review, great album

captaincrunch11
April 11th 2013



1198 Comments


I love this band

Calc
April 11th 2013



12126 Comments


Ugh @ the first paragraph

Digging: He Is Legend - Heavy Fruit

NOTINTHEFACE
April 11th 2013



1653 Comments


"For those of us who've been on Sputnikmusic for half a decade or so, the name Tera Melos brings back fond memories of a different era of this community;"

Ugh yes. What the hell happened.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
April 11th 2013



23804 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lucidity!

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
April 11th 2013



12950 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

so good

Digging: Electric Wurms - Musik Die Schwer Zu Twerk

WashboardSuds
April 11th 2013



4992 Comments


great review dude

Digging: Gas - Nah und Fern

shablaman54
April 11th 2013



281 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

with each successive tera melos release, i would always be impressed by the technicality as well as the chosen somewhat bizarre melodies. this is unimpressive to me because they have chosen to keep the quirky choice of notes that they usually adhere to, but have vastly, vastly dumbed down the technicality. this is the first time i've been disappointed by a proper tera melos release



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