Traams - Grin

by Steve Reynolds Rating:8 Release Date:2013-09-16

Pavement wouldn't have done what they do without a inspirational leg-up from The Fall, right? Traams are indebted to the both of those bands and sprinkled with juggernauts of post-punk and Krautrock (Wire, Joy Division, Neu!). They made a tortured racket and fully justify the current hype that circles above them.

Opener 'Swimming Pool' is a collisional car crash of gag-heavy guitar butted together by what sound like a bloody cruise liner horn going off as it leaves port. It's a wall of melodic noise and when head honco Stu Hopkins starts spewing out incoherent barks and yelps, it draws a pretty healthy line in the sand as to what is to come.

'Flowers' is a blue blood killer of a song; the metronomic rhythms mixed with a droning jam and Hopkins shouting at us on a tossed off chorus: "You don't even know my number/ I don't even know your name". It's flippant and irrelevant but the urgency of his spiel and the truncated finish is timed perfectly. However, it's the polar opposite of the visceral wig-out on 'Head Roll', a seven-minute slice of driving guitar reminiscent of the fine work Mazes put out of their Ores and Minerals album earlier this year.

'Fibbist' is jumpy, fidgety like a cat on a hot tin roof, Hopkins is suitably spikey with his lyrics: "I won't forget to try and forget you…". Its short, succinct and has more of a pop element but with a dark, plaintive undertone to it. They do make music you can dance to though, albeit it a splaying-arms-windmill kinda thing. See 'Reds' with its thunderous, quick-witted bass.

'Sleep' soars, and once again Hopkins is very angry. His vitriol springs out of the speakers: "Little things you say/ make no sense outside your head/ and all you said you do but I draw the line in trusting you... Fuck you ... I can't get over hating you, hey you fuck you". He is one twisted mother the song's Gang of Four-style arrangement complements him perfectly. It's a bastard, vindictive track about an ex, with no sign of any love lost whatsoever.

They end with the psyche-haze of 'Klaus', with its metronomic, mind-numbing, rolling beat. It could have had all the typical trappings of a pile of hippy shit but the weaving, twisting guitar and on-it drums make for a darkly brooding, perfect end to the album.

Traams make music you can get miserable to. They make music you can dance like a crazed animal to. They like to torment and, although Hopkins is cantankerous at times, the band's demonised music dovetails perfectly. Grinis instantly likeable, powerful, laden down with hooks and stories of good and bad times, and the real positive is this is only their debut!

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