Thursday, October 15, 2020

TRAAMS' 'Intercontinental Radio Waves' review

It is difficult to deny TRAAMS’ exemplary capacity to have a signature sound that is not afraid to mingle with the formal qualities of pop music – even if it doesn’t explicitly sound like they take inspiration from it. ‘Intercontinental Radio Wave’, which is a sharp three minutes long, as opposed to the previous single which was a ten minute odyssey, in no way seems more like a pop song than what can be called ‘a TRAAMS song’ so to speak. 

The track opens with a quintessentially TRAAMS hypnotic bass line that intermingles with a drum track that clears into overlayed guitars and backing vocals that accompany Hopkins’ vocals.

In my previous review, I suggested that TRAAMS’ ‘The Greyhound’ finds itself walking the tightrope between anxiety and control, but with ‘IRW’ I feel that this time it’s a dance between the two. There is a sense of light-footed play, but preceding an aggressive moment of attack, and the song seems to end right before it happens. While the song is not inherently a provocation, nor is it angsty or lamenting, ‘IRW’ sounds like an appropriate teaser for a larger body of work, yet to arrive, and succeeds as a single. 

I also stated that ‘The Greyhound’ demanded repeated listens, but in this case, ‘IRW’ is an instant earworm. I had ended my last review on the previous track with the question of consistency, and I find it deeply intriguing that TRAAMS new track is clear evidence that the band is aware of their return to the scene to be surrounded by a certain expectation of what they are supposed to sound like, and are increasingly open to toeing the line between revelling in their signature sound and incorporating the new sounds and forms that have begun to dominate the indie and post-rock scene in the years since their last album release in 2015. 

One can only continue to look forward to more, as if these are just the preliminary findings of a very promising experiment.

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