• Sat, Jul 20, 2024
Reviews

Bangalore Band 'The Tramlines Project' Are Finally Out With Their Debut, And It's A Goodie

9.5

album Reviews Nov 04, 05:10pm

‘Perception’ has much more personality than most post-rock albums

Post-rock has now got to a point where it only begets conversation when “there’s a release worth talking about”. Somewhere between the 90s and the 2010s, it changed from an idea that reduced rock sounds to their emotional core, to just something you could mindlessly vibe out to. Words like ‘delay’ and ‘modulation’ and ‘trippy’ were at a time synonymous with the kind of sounds Bangalore band The Tramlines Project use on their debut album ‘Perception’. What’s great about this album is that it doesn’t need those labels to describe it. So, it’s well worth talking about.

Y’all know the sonic blueprint of the genre by now (atmosphere, plodding drums, great production, etc.) by now, so let’s dive straight into the songs on this thing. The opener is called ‘Right & Wrong’. It’s an enjoyable mix of grooves you’d hear in a jam room with some Indian classical instrumentation. And it’s done correctly. Everything meshes together in a satisfying way, and even though the actual writing is as barebones as it gets, it hits requisitely hard. ‘Empty Inside’ has a quiet, rainy vibe to it (mostly due to the ambience and rain sounds) until it shifts into the sort of heavy 6/8 groove you’d hear in the beginning of a 2005 symphonic prog band’s ‘opus’. Then, the band goes through a bunch of ideas that were obviously written in sequence but go really well together.

Do all of you see where this is going?

 

 

‘Lucid Dream’ was the album’s single and perhaps its most rigid; the song suffers a bit from telegraphing its transitions in an obvious way. ‘Frost Bite’ draws out the same idea with some piano and the best breakdown on the album with much better results. The second half of the song does a great job of balancing a modulated (yes, we said it) metal song’s bridge with the depth of the segment that follows it. ‘Alive’ is another standout; it combines ideas straight out of slow-burners from 2000s prog with the song’s outro; there’s some straight-ahead arena rock soloing on this thing. It’s so engaging to listen to.

Again, do all of you see where this is going?     

‘Output’ and ‘Hope’, the two tracks that end the album, are quite straightforward in their scope. A few flourishes in performance aside, they stay squarely in the quiet-loud-groove-rock-out space most post-rock fans would enjoy. However, the band pulls out yet another trick; they bring interesting changes and left turns to the party. ‘Output’ has an outro that one could describe as jazzy. ‘Hope’ goes for an intro that could score a modern open-world game. And this last idea drives home exactly what makes the album a good listening experience. Form.

‘Perception’ has everything you would want from a solid post-rock release. Big walls of sound, big drums, even some vocal samples. But it’s a lot more than that, and this is what The Tramlines Project has done so well. It’s not just an album full of whatever makes the band think they have a 'sound'. They experiment, they chuck a load of influences into their writing, and they make a legitimate effort to not conform to the norm of long-winded 8-minute slogs. This album is less than 34 minutes long. It has only one song that gets close to 7 minutes in length, and even there, there’s tons of inventiveness and playfulness to be found.

That, then, is where this is going; and that’s why this is perhaps the most interesting post-rock release to come out of the scene this year.

 

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