Californian noise trio Tera Melos have established themselves as a uniquely talented bunch of individuals, with albums that brim with youthful energy and brash noise yet are always nailed down with incredibly tight and often complex song structures.
For those familiar with their work, “Patagonian Rats” offers much of what you’d expect, but it all feels a little toned down. The ambient electronics and the jazz-laden, fret-tapping mid-sections are still present but are far less frequent or starkly paraded.
Those elements are blended more finely within the tunes but as the cuts on this album are, for the most part, much shorter than on previous outings, the diversity is less apparent.
The more mainstream feel is in the main down to the addition of vocals which seem to have dragged the band away from their rock and jazz foundations towards a decidedly pop portfolio.
The almost polite, clipped choruses are unabashedly tuneful and even catchy at times and this seems, to my ear anyway, to clash with the rather awkward and jarring nature of their musical underscore.
Having let their instruments convey the message so well previously it seems a little off-kilter to hear their hook-laden hollering over the top of some of their more intricate riffs.
That said, this is still an album full of stunning guitar work and a nicely aggressive production. It isn’t so intricate as to lose the flow of the music, but way more inventive and attention grabbing than some of their so called “math rock” contemporaries.
If you don’t mind a smattering of indie pop choruses with your Tera Melos, then this album is a solid piece of work.