Sunday, December 22, 2013

Year End Album Reviews # 4:

Trinine by Bailterspace

Fire Records, 2013

2012's Strobosphere was the first new album in 14 years for these self-described atmospheric noisesters from New Zealand. The remarkable (and germane) thing as I write today is not that Strobosphere was a good, solid record, but rather is that the band has managed to quickly record a followup that is superior to it.

I am a skeptic as far as it goes with records more than a decade in the making. Not even considering the tolls of vitality and creativity that Father Time collects, if you figured ten years ago that you had nothing more to say, what about the passage of time is going to change the truth of that declaration?

And if it's difficult to make something decent in your first effort after ten years, you'd have to figure that a second album after that would be even more so. It's like the old canard about debut albums: Bailterspace had 14 years to think about Strobosphere, but less than a year to work up the new one.

Yet, the preconceptions I bring aside, Trinine is the real deal. Song after song features a nasty guitar tone, or a sinister bass sound, or both.

It is perhaps true that the jawdropping songwriting as they once displayed on "Retro" is gone, not to return, but songwriting was never critical with this band: "The Sonic Youth of the Southern Hemisphere" has been about sound, about texture, about the fucked-up noises you can make with a guitar, and in that regard, Trinine hangs with anything the band has ever done.

"Tri5" in its layered heaviness recalls Bailterspace prime work like "At Five" or "Projects." "Tapenzloop" if not in sound but just because of the experimentation recalls the amazing "Voltage."

There are a couple of surprises, too: "Together," in some strange way recalls the twisted alt-folk of Skip Spence.

It all sounds great, especially loud, and Trinine is as good (almost) as anything else new I heard in 2013.

Four-and-a-half enthusiastic stars.

File under: Atmospheric Noise

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