Monday, October 24, 2011

TRIPS AND FALLS "People Have To Be Told"

When Jacob Romero’s voice is at its most audible on this record (say ‘Good People Are So Sure They Are Always Right’) you could be mistaken for thinking he’s an adenoidal finger-in-the-lughole folk balladeer (further reinforced by said song turning out to be a tale of bloody despatch). But these vocal moments and folky allusions are few and are misleading pointers to the overall sound of Trips And Falls – although murder and mystery prevail. The Montreal indie band possess the twitchy lofi minimalism of Flying Nun’s Tall Dwarfs with occasional bursts (as on opener ‘I’ll Do the Dishes, You Do the Laundry’) of de-tuned Sonic Youth guitar noise. For the most part clipped guitar lines, tight restraint and bittersweet disdain carry the day - as well as impressively convoluted song titles. ‘Is That My Soul That Calls Upon My Name’ is a doom-laden jagged shuffle of existential doubt as dark and introspective as its title would suggest. The slow-burn of ‘That Is A Big Door’ is more hopeful in its controlled drift and rippling drones: “take your time, just let me know when you’re only hurts for the first time”. Well more hopeful.

The claustrophobic moodiness is lightened in part by the almost faux-naif observational dark humour behind Romero’s precise, straining vocals plus the sweetly sung – and utterly charming - counterpoint of bassist Ashleigh Delaye in duets such as the mutual Dear John note that is ‘This Is All Going To End Badly’ or the playfully jangly bickering of single ‘Marginally More Than Mildly Annoying’. The latter is the most light-hearted if not downright funny moment on the record - and curious but timid listeners should start with this (free download) and its plaintive boy/girl plea to “please kill me slow”. But these duets can also turn nasty as ‘That’s What She Said’ shows – a weary, mournful slump of the shoulders that brings the record to a bitter finish.

This is the band’s second album, “a little less weird than the first” according to UK label Song by Toad Records. I haven’t heard “He Was Such A Quiet Boy” so I can’t be drawn on comparative weirdness but even despite its stare-you-down earnest intensity “People Have To Be Told” is also curiously compelling and refreshingly follows its own path. As the band say ‘Why Should Now Be Normal?’.

Trips and Falls - This is All Going to End Badly by Song, by Toad

Trips and Falls People Have To Be Told [BUY]


Matthew said...

Cracking write-up, thanks very much!

The Archivist said...

Most welcome - another cracking SBT Records release!