It's a rare and exciting thing when a record unapologetically slaps you in the face, drenches you in ice-cold water and then launches you into an explosive beast of sonic chaos. Chichester post-punk trio TRAAMS have done just that. If their 2013 debut 'Grin' saw the band wanting to escape their small-town boredom, then with 'Modern Dancing' they've really found something to shout about.
Opening track 'Costner' starts with the distorted scuzz reminiscent of a radio tuning, leaving only seconds to prepare the senses for the onslaught of thudding drum beats and irresistible guitar screeches that only pause for breath on the slower paced, penultimate track 'Car Song.' TRAAMS have ironically really perfected their rough edged and flawed sound; vocalist Stuart Hopkins reels off lists of modern day dramas with deadpan and sardonic wit, at times echoing the scrappy vocals of Julian Casablancas (particularly on 'Neckbrace'). Other influences can be felt throughout the record too; there's a hint of Modest Mouse's drowsy indie guitar and Parquet Courts's slacker chaos, complete with Krautrock-infused-post-punk.
Hopkins' lyrics really find their form in title track, 'Modern Dancing.' Chants of "I see you dancing, I know you can't help it" highlight the hypnotic quality that made 'Grin' such an exciting and impossible-to-shake debut. The energy of the album seems to gather and culminate in the frenzy of 'Gimme Gimme Gimme Gimme (love),' a beast of noise and intensity. The shortest song on the album 'Car Song' drastically changes the pace with melancholy vocals and delicate riffs not dissimilar to the poignancy of Nirvana's 'All Apologies.' It also brings a moment to catch your breath and gather strength before being hurtled headfirst into closing track 'Bite Mark.' The brighter tone of the song mirrors bassist Leigh Padley's view of the album as a whole: "It's generally a more positive record than our first...a tad more optimistic."
Despite the more upbeat sound to 'Bite Mark' TRAAMS ensure they still pack enough punch to really sink their teeth into their slightly frenzied and disheveled (but completely hooked) listeners.
Words: Ashleigh Grady (@ashgrady)
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