Review Summary: Tera Melos release their best album since their debut.
I have always held a lot of respect for Tera Melos; their ability to craft instrumentals was rivaled by very few. Their contemporaries that utilized the same start-stop, herky jerky time signatures always came off a little awkward. Usually this is intentional, however Tera Melos has always managed to sound very graceful, even during their most awkward moments. It seems like it comes so naturally to them, as if they were casually jamming and that’s what happened to come out. Even when they started incorporating vocals into their music they didn’t lose their ability to do so. The problem with Nick taking vocal duties was the fact that the band put so much emphasis on them, and their desire to be a pop band.
For some of Patagonian Rats and most of X’ed out
the band ignored what made them great for the sake of making some more straightforward songs, with some crazy math rock sections mixed in. They’ve never quite been able to pull it off. Until now. On Trash Generator
they sound so much more comfortable with the addition of vocals, and with putting them front and center. From the very first track this is apparent. ‘System Preferences’ opens with nothing but a peculiar bassline and Nick singing. His odd melody fits in perfectly and completely makes the track. It being one of the tamest, instrumentally speaking, and it manages to be one of the best due to good songwriting, which is what most of the album boils down to. The song is a greater than the sum of its parts, with each individual part coming together for no purpose other than serving the track; the guitar refrain isn’t flashy in the least bit, but like the vocals it is captivating enough to carry the song until completion. The end of ‘Warpless Run’ sees Nick’s soaring vocals take center stage after an extremely chaotic instrumental passage; the dense bridge contrasts well with the catchy, explosive finish. This is analogous of the rest of the album; the hyper, out of control moments make the slower, quieter parts seem so much more potent, and vice versa.
The production is much improved when compared to X’ed out
. The use of guitar effects and other wacky sounds is used so much more tastefully now. They’re still everywhere, but more appropriately and less just for the sake of it. Moreover instrumental side of the album is where it truly shines. Some of these songs are absolutely blood-pumping, while some are more reserved. ‘A Universal Gonk’ is mostly low key, and even segue into a nice saxophone solo, and does so very naturally. The creativity the band has shown since day one is still very apparent here, and shows no signs of slowing down. For once the instrumental side of the band doesn’t completely overshadow the actual songwriting. It may to an extent, however the band has taken a massive step in the right direction.