Though it appears to have been available digitally for the past month, We Have Band‘s sophomore effort Ternion was finally released today. I will admit that I had initially written off the trio as a blog-driven buzz band. If we’re being completely honest with one another, and we shall be, all I heard was a bunch of noise and excessive hullabaloo the first time I listened to Ternion.
Alas, the feeling didn’t last very long.
With each subsequent listen, I began to let my guard down and peel back the layers of the album. “What’s Mine, What’s Yours” (as heard in the video above) was my gateway drug, shortly followed by “Visionary” and “After All”. Even then, I wasn’t sold on the full package until the acceptance of these “softer” tracks led to an appreciation for the complexities of the project’s darker songs.
Eventually, light was seen in the dark on “River of Blood”. The noise from “Steel In The Groove” suddenly translated to “interesting percussion”. Weird Muppet-like breakdowns (see “Watertight”) added a charming element to an otherwise serious collection of songs. If anything, my only problem was left with the all-too-mellow closing track “Pressure On”. While it might be necessary to wind you down after the adventurous ride of Ternion, it doesn’t quite live up to the expert craftsmanship and fuller sound of the nine preceding offerings.
But, uh, nine out of ten ain’t bad, right? If you’re willing to exercise your patience and dedicate some time to Ternion, I’d highly recommend giving it a few spins. All ten songs (albeit, out of order) can be streamed on PureVolume, or you can take a chance and (gasp)order the album before you hear it.
I’ve told you what you need to know. Now, make the right decision.
Grand Duchy‘s “Silver Boys” toes the line between vapid and pretentious. It’s the perfect song for practicing your signature walk on the runway sidewalk*, as it transports you back to a 1960s era devoted to art, glamour, community and, er, drugged-out orgies. You guessed it (or maybe you didn’t). The song’s about Andy Warhol and The Factory.
It took me a while to get into this track, and I’m still not sure whether my love’s more guilty pleasure or legitimate musical appreciation. My instincts are telling me to lean towards the latter. After all, this is a side project by Pixies‘ frontman Black Francis and his wife Violet Clark, and their transparency about the lack of hipness is quite refreshing. Says Clark:
“There’s more energy left in the music if you’re not picking it all apart with your brain, worrying about whether what you’re doing is ‘cool’ or not. I have decided that ‘cool’ has no place in what we’re trying to do or achieve. What is ‘cool’ anyway?”
Exactly! In a world full of people trying to be “cool” or “edgy”, you’ve got to respect someone who can just dork out and make everything so obvious it’s almost painful. Truthfully, I was going to say the video for “Silver Boys” takes away from the experience, but you know what? They’re having fun, and this song is just that—pure fun.
This is one of those instances where the B-side is (arguably) more promising than the intended single.
Last month, Djeisan Suskov of Cool Rainbows unveiled “Southern Summer Sun”, the first release from his band’s debut project Whale Rocket. It was alright! In fact, it was more than alright! A bit too laid-back for my personal tastes, but one has to appreciate all the hard work and “sonic noodling” that went into crafting the song.
That said, it’s impossible to ignore the gripping effect of “Tidal Wave”. The immediately more-likable brother track to “Southern Summer Sun”, lasting only a bit over two minutes, leaves the listener aching for more. It’s unsettlingly unsatisfying in that way that’s also kind of satisfying. You know what I mean, right?