Review Summary: It may sound pleasantly relaxing, but the stunningly beautiful Digital Tropics is a storm-ravaged and dangerous holiday location.
In an ever-growing music industry in an age where anyone with a computer and a guitar or a keyboard can start making publishable tracks, the need to define one’s music as different to everyone else’s remains a difficult and often elusive problem. Carving your own work out of enough genres to feed a family for a week seems to be the most frequently winning strategy; please the diverse, the ones who are willing to risk wasting an hour just to try something different. Mutiny on the Bounty have clearly swaggered confidently down this path to create something equal parts intense and beautiful and, quite frequently, just damn catchy
A mix of everything from electronic to nigh-on metal, Mutiny on the Bounty waste no moment exploring and redefining genres to fit their own purpose, bringing in whatever is needed exactly when the track needs it. Nothing feels arbitrarily placed; every element is thought out, cut off when it is no longer wanted. Like a good book, tracks often take unexpected turns, changing so drastically it probably shouldn’t work and serves to keep you emotionally invested in every moment. This shows in ‘Dance Automaton Dance’, a piece that drifts (well, not quite, but you get my meaning) along happily until the last twenty seconds, where it climaxes to a meaty, heavy, distorted conclusion.
Highlighted in a personal favourite, ‘Ballet Mècanique’, a natural talent for riffs and melodies that sound equally at home on distorted guitars and synths bring not one per track, or even two; in many places, such as ‘Strobocop’, one riff will be going on in the right ear, and another in the left, all the while with a drum beat that is unique to the track, rarely settling for a simple bass-snare cliché (such things are so yesteryear!). All of the focus is on this, while laying down what could be one of the most startlingly gorgeous soundscapes I have heard. ‘Fin de Siècle’ gives an exemplary dip in to this aspect, intensity front-and-centre, with the stage design never failing to give a backdrop worth admiring. ‘Ballet Mécanique’ and the more minimalistic ‘Ice Ice Iceland’ bring a bouncy, percussion-like riff jumping from ear to ear throughout, while the billion other things here go on between these two extremes. All this is possible only due to the masterful, flawless production; every element has its own space, never muddled by another, each sonic pleasure capable of holding the floor confidently, while allowing others to play along.
This all helps to emphasise the talent of the instrumentalists. The drummer often takes the limelight, always innovating, knowing exactly what you want to hear, even if you don’t. The guitarists and bassist complement and lead when they have to, a respect and cooperation running through all of their playing, joining when intensity is required, like in ‘Mkl Jksn’, and diverging and contrasting from eachother in the finale ‘Sonars’, a piece which begins sounding much like the calm before the storm, rising into a hurricane of instrumentation, and fading out for the end, when all has been razed to dust. The key selling point here is that despite all tracks revolving at high velocity around the same core style, all of the pieces have their own unique thing, something to distinguish them apart. At no point do you get lost in the sea of instruments and atmosphere, the markers are there to guide you through.
For all its immensity, Digital Tropics
can be separated out into three essential components; a love for music, a willingness to experiment, and, above all, no fear of failure. They give off confidence whenever they play, no doubt in their minds that their music is something they love and want to share. This perfection, a lack of any inhibitions brought on from conforming, gives them an edge over so many others. Without words, they express their intent, and carry it to its deserved conclusion, no matter where it takes them. And goddamn, it sounds so good. So, so good.