Teasing their fans for months by giving out cryptic location data pointing to a small island off the coast of another island south of New Zealand, TTNG finally put out what is arguably one of the most anticipated math rock releases of 2016.
Bearing the name of said isle (which may or may not host a twelve-inch geocache at the given coordinates with a super exclusive vinyl edition – we haven’t checked yet), Disappointment Island retains most of the sonic qualities the trio have developed on their previous records. The harmonious interplay of Henry’s signature modified short scale bass and Tim’s twinkly telecaster is still the driving force on all tracks of the album. However, TTNG dropped electronic intermissions, instead going for a bold dynamic move: On ‘Whatever, Whenever’, which on vinyl concludes the A-side, the song evolves into a slowly unfolding crescendo you’d expect from post-rock acts like Caspian or Mogwai, but not from a band that so far shied from distorted guitar sounds. It’s an unexpected turn right in the middle of the album and perfectly kicks off the second half, keeping it interesting.
And this is where TTNG excel on their newest release – composition. Never have their songs sounded so refined and well-structured. It is hard in itself to write songs that defy rhythmic and melodic conventions. But to subtly make it complex while providing a certain accessibility is an art form many math rock bands struggle to achieve. TTNG pull it off with such ease that someone new to their music can indulge in the soothing melancholy the album provides throughout its 40 minutes length, while we math heads can get mentally (and some of us even physically) aroused counting time signatures and making out counterpoints in the fugue-esque guitar sections.
While TTNG themselves reject the term ‘math rock’, it is clear that Disappointment Island will become an album to inspire many more math acts to come in sound and technique. And to everyone else, no matter what genre-preference they come from, I recommend Disappointment Island heartily – for it is, from start to finish, one of the most beautiful and captivating records of 2016.
math rock, emo, indie, vocals, soothing
Sounds A Tad Like
American Football , Delta Sleep, Their / They’re / There, Rooftops
A Chase of Sorts; Whatever, Whenever; Destroy the Tabernacle!