The band's called TRAAMS and, presumably, it's all in capital letters to connote...something, one supposes. I'm not quite sure what and probably neither are these guys.
The new record is called Modern Dancing and it's out tomorrow via FatCat Records. There's something pretentious about this release even if one is not quite sure what it is. That's one of the benefits of living in a post-Radiohead era when acts can be pretentious without having a specific point to make.
That said, at least TRAAMS make energetic and spirited indie of the sort that would have made people sit up and listen in 1999. I can't entirely hate this album though. On something like "Sister" the overall effect is like Gary Numan singing over top a Nirvana track and that's not as horrible as it sounds. It's actually kinda affecting. Vocalist Stuart Hopkins sounds like both the Tubeway Army legend as well as Mark Mothersbaugh in spots and it's his voice that makes this sort of guitar-based lad-fest so listenable.
On the title track, Stu sounds more like Numan than almost any other singer has since the Eighties and yet the music admirably recalls "Airbag" by Radiohead in spots. What sounds like a mess on paper works pretty well on the record and this remains one of the big highlights of Modern Dancing. By the time that the bands reaches album closer "Bite Mark" it's a bit too little, too late. Still, the final cut is remarkably good and hints at this band having a bit more potential than a lot of Modern Dancing would indicate. This TRAAMS stuff can be quite good in small doses, I suppose.
At their best TRAAMS reminded me of that wave of guitar-bands that arose a few years back around the time of the rise (and fall) of Llama Farmers. That's not a slam but, rather, a note that this sort of stuff doesn't entirely set the world on fire despite being music that has a lot of fire (in spots). Modern Dancing by TRAAMS out tomorrow via FatCat Records. Follow TRAAMS via the band's official Facebook page.
[Photo: Kai Mueller]