Tera Melos
X'ed Out


4.5
superb

Review

by Tony Li USER (36 Reviews)
April 28th, 2013 | 21 replies | 1,118 views


Release Date: 04/16/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Say what you want, but these guys are still the best experimental avant-garde dream math pop rockers around.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

The sanity of Tera Melos is in question. With the release of Patagonian Rats in 2010, I was probably not alone in wrestling with the notion that perhaps they have gone sane. The group went from crafting exquisitely executed instrumental math rock to crafting airy alt rock with vocals. One might hesitate to call it progression; instead of baffling us with the extreme instrumentation prevalent on their early releases, Tera Melos now runs mostly on dream-pop vocals and noticeably less technicality. Patagonian Rats was their first serious foray into this new territory, although hints of this new style showed on Complex Full of Phantoms, and it was a mixed bag. Many thought it was the end of the band, while some people swallowed mild disappointment to enjoy Patagonian Rats for what it was. Fast forward to three years later, and Tera Melos is continuing to pursue this controversial new direction with follow up album “X’ed Out”.

Those familiar with their previous album will notice two major differences. Firstly, it is apparent that X’ed Out makes up for the blatant inconsistency found on Patagonian Rats. Hard-hitting songs are spaced out and buffered by dreamy effect-laden tunes, instead of being crammed together as they were on Patagonian. The result is that X’ed Out retains much of its momentum throughout, making for a more enjoyable sustained listen. I could not plow through Patagonian Rats the whole way through without changing the song, but I found that I could do so on this album effortlessly.

The second major difference is that the songs here are much more subdued than they were before. Each song, no matter how loud, has a more chilled-out atmosphere. The hooks are still there, but they are now more subtle, instead relying on fewer but still well-placed notes. The vocals enhance this by meshing closely with the guitar lines, as evident on the track “Bite”. Listeners must delve deeper and be equipped with a skilled musical ear to fully enjoy what the album has to offer. However, when Tera Melos chooses to indulge in the truly epic instrumental barrages they are known for, the result is glorious, due to the massive contrast with the softer passages. “Sunburn” and “Until Luftstanza” are prime examples of how effective this strategy can be, showcasing several paradoxical moments that are bombastic and serene at the same time. Tera Melos’s songwriting proficiency does not falter even when they throw newer textures into the mix. “No Phase” is a wholly dream pop song comprised of guitars and sustained by their trademark vocals, but it is oddly mesmerizing. “X’ed Out and Tired” follows along the same lines; despite being incredibly minimalist, it is a charming and effective end to the album, with its soft guitars and nostalgic electronics.

Despite the numerous claims I’ve heard, Tera Melos has by no means stagnated. While detractors will continue to bemoan the decrease in technicality, it can even be argued that the minimalist approach is more difficult; there is much less to work with when crafting effective songs. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a Tera Melos fan, it’s that first and foremost, the lads are first class musicians. X’ed Out does nothing but validate this, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to dub it as the band’s most cohesive work since Drugs to the Dear Youth. Make no mistake, this is still Tera Melos, and they are still as insane as ever.



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user ratings (144)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Chesse13 (3)
Wasted Potential...

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

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

Lucid CONTRIBUTOR (4)
Pop hooks and guitar noodling! Done better, this time....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Azn.
April 28th 2013



5569 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm really tired of my friends hating this

Digging: Trophy Scars - Never Born, Never Dead

Azn.
April 28th 2013



5569 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

and fuck, I'm so sorry for posting again before my earlier review was off the frontpage, I'm so damn sleepy that I forgot entirely :/

Calc
April 28th 2013



12028 Comments


"While detractors will continue to laud the decrease in technicality"

this makes no sense. good review though.

Digging: Kashiwa Daisuke - April. #02

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2013



4383 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No worries, as long as you're not uploading like 5 reviews a day, I doubt anyone will flame your for it. With that said, it's a good review. Nice job. I too would have liked to hear them return to the sound of their first album but I did enjoy this a lot. This new sound fits them much better than the one in PR (at least I think so).

POS'd.

Azn.
April 28th 2013



5569 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oops my bad, I'll fix that

laud is entirely the wrong word

and thanks sgtpepper!

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
April 28th 2013



23798 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

summary is a joke, yes yes?

Calc
April 28th 2013



12028 Comments


much better :]

Azn.
April 28th 2013



5569 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah it was quite joke-ish

Ire
April 28th 2013



41749 Comments


gr8 summry

sjp55555
April 28th 2013



85 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's a good album. I prefer the experimental songs like Slimed and Bite on this one. However if you cut out half of Party with Gina and Another Surf then P-Rats might be slightly better.

Azn.
April 28th 2013



5569 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

as an album though X'ed out is much better organized, to the point of making it more enjoyable

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2013



10011 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You're arguing Patagonian Rats was an accessible release? What?

I mean, from a stylistic standpoint it was pretty poppy, but it was pieced together in such an unnatural way.

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

Azn.
April 29th 2013



5569 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

exactly. X'ed out does it so much better

sjp55555
May 12th 2013



85 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

But X'ed out doesn't have some of the ballsy riffs P-rats has.

Azn.
May 12th 2013



5569 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

they get along fine doing anything they want

that's how creative they are

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 12th 2013



10011 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I will say I'm not a big fan of the production here.

Azn.
May 12th 2013



5569 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

why not?

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 12th 2013



10011 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm awful at describing these things. But the production feels really dry, especially with the inclusion of the vocals. Like, the opening song sounds amazing until all of the instruments come in. And I don't know, I'm not sure that was what they were going for. The guitar sounds oddly trebley, and it certainly isn't the songwriting that irks me-- I know I'd dig all these tracks a lot more if I heard them presented in a better way.

I actually think Untitled had better production than this album, surprisingly.

Azn.
May 12th 2013



5569 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

untitled had great production, actually, idk why some people don't like it.

I think the production on X'ed Out fit the chilled out sound they were going for though. It just doesn't sound much like normal Melos

the production on Complex was unpolished but fantastic

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 12th 2013



10011 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I think they were going for more a laid-back feel here, and I mean, it does sound that way. It's just personal preference, and not a choice I can really back.

I haven't heard Complex, but really need to! I've really been digging these guys lately.



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