Fat Cat Records (label)
01 August 2022 (released)
01 August 2022
Chichester power-trio TRAAMS (Time Reference Angle of Arrival Measurement System) re-emerge with their long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s ‘Modern Dancing’ with their third album ‘personal best’ which features guests such as tour mates’ Protomartyr frontman Joe Casey (‘The light at night’), Menace Beach’s Liza ‘Softlizard’ Violet (‘Breathe’; ‘Comedown’), and Lowly’s Soffie Viemose (‘Sleeper’).
Since 2020’s diptych of singles the twonk-funk of ‘Intercontinental Radio Waves’ and prognus opus ‘The Greyhound’ time’s accelerating passage and enforced social distancing has resulted in that absence making the art go a-wander.
Upon reconvening, restrictive conditions (night shifts necessitating noise limits) helped in producing novel forms of creation, a hushed, self-conscious atmosphere and awareness of space instigating different approaches. This exercising of restraint providing extra fillip-gloss on proceedings.
Measured vocal deliveries, programmed percussion in lieu of tub-thumping, yet not (nor needing to) veering too far from their template, their soundus operendi, that of technotronica, motorik-rolling, post-rock backdrops, yelped vexations and yapped fixations.
Opener ‘Sirens’ is a delicate sound of wonder, an echo-laden Morse-code like expression, missives arriving from afar, a near, a pulse from above.
‘Dry’ is akin to the final incarnation of The Fall, propulsion, compulsion, impulsion in sound whereas the duet with Softlizard, ‘Breathe’, is a nine-minute warning of Neu!-esque building, an all and response to and fro, come and go, inhale …. exhale … all hail.
‘The light at night’ begins as a freak-folk, pagan-disco(ntent) that evolves and devolves into a sarc-religious scream-stream screed, guest-screecher the irreverent Reverend Casey hellishly hectoring invectives at an amused/abused/bemused flock, caught betwixt enlightened and frightened.
Standouts are the closers. First up is ‘Hallie’, latent with menace and purpose, an anthemic call out, a cry for something, anything, and/or nothing. ‘Comedown’ has a Jam-like punk-beat that leads into TRAAMS’s heavy-stereotypical orchestration going off everywhere, synths are splayed, guitars are gutted, messages are muttered.
John Peel said of The Fall and Mark E. Smith’s strict diktats that they were ‘always the same, always different’. The same can be said of TRAAMS.