A few years on from their hypnotic 'Of The Sun' album, Polish quartet Trupa Trupa has returned with a release as eerily captivating but displaying more propulsive anger. Once more marrying post-rock, psych, and nightmarish atmospherics, the outfit offers a feast for those who like their tunes on the darker side. Over its thirty-eight minute runtime, the listener is repeatedly dragged through uneasy sonics and dread-inducing vignettes before being smothered by dreamy textures. It's a contrast that skillfully avoids feeling jarring, rather adding to the sense of disquiet dripping from the album's pores. Talk of unhinged work-life balance, the military, and shame only add to the element of Kafkaesque ruin that permeates. In short, you won't be putting this on during your next dinner party.
With the Gdańsk band eager to confront humankind's darkest impulses, their material is not often for the faint of heart. For those who like their music dense enough to take a walk through, though, this is a haunting treat that rewards repeat listens. The bad-time tones are brought hard and heavy from the off, opener 'Moving' boasting a frantic beat that feels like a breakdown. The following 'Kwietnik' combines the band's two modes to great effect, its faded rhythms sounding like a heartbeat before the four-piece erupt into a mechanical chorus with metallic guitars.
A sense of paranoia and threatening disintegration is apparent on all eleven tracks. 'Lit,' encapsulates this best of all. Featuring a tranquilized Pink Floyd aura, the track literally slows down and collapses under its own weight before it hits the three-minute mark. What saves the album from utter navel-gazing is its sense of focus and drive. 'Far Away' boasts a killer bass line that wouldn't have been amiss on an early Muse record, while 'Sick' conjures images of band favourites Sonic Youth at their most unsettling. Even when the quartet is at their most abrasive, they never fail to deliver the goods via intriguing production.
With many groups currently reflecting these strange days of ours through witty wordplay and off-the-cuff observations, Trupa Trupa actually SOUND like our collective trauma. At times both nostalgic, beautiful, and terrifying, these boys bravely stick their paws into the dark heart of the 21st century and come back with a soundtrack. With 'B FLAT A,' the group has taken another step towards solidifying their wholly distinctive sound. A tar-black marriage of poetry, politics, and powerful rhythm. With each release growing in confidence, we look forward to seeing what they give us next.
Words: Sam Walker-Smart
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