Friday, July 19, 2013

Traams Is Climbing Up With Ladders

When the trio that makes up TRAAMS started jamming together two years ago, it was a natural progression of the musical escapism all three member share. Stu Hopkins (vocals-guitar), Leigh Padley (bass), and Adam Stock (drums) were compelled to make music in order to escape the mundanity of their hometown.

"We had to start a band." Padley says. "It was all we had."

The lot of them come out of Chichester, which is a rural district in West Sussex, England. Apart from the strip toward the south of it, there are few main roads connecting the area villages and coastal city. It's a very suitable locale for what the band plays. They call it wonky pop, but you might recognize some vibrant krautrock squall lifting the lyrics and arrangements.

Most of it stems from the single thunderous song they wrote during their first rehearsal. According to the band, it made the spires quiver and the cobbles wobble. So they hooked up every week thereafter.

Eventually, this weekly pastime culminated with recording a few songs with the help of Rory Atwell (Test Icicles). As time went on, they added another well-known producer too. They cut come tracks with MJ (Hookworms) in his home studio in Leeds. Other than a handful of copies sent to a few FatCat Records friends and record store owners, only the digital EP has been creeping around the U.S.

Ladders by TRAAMS is a splash of smashing alternative rock. 

Released a few weeks ago amidst a rush of other recordings, the Ladders EP was easily missed on the initial pass. But then when you add a few days and listen to a glut of same-old or soon-to-be-released singles by other bands, the noise they make wafts in like a breath of fresh air.

Low was a track that immediately took hold like a statement against a different kind of mundanity. There was Hopkins lamenting he was losing his ability to judge what was the best part of him.

"I wake up in the morning and my memory is daunted," Hopkins deadpans. "And I can't go. And I can't do. And I'm in and out of pokers. I don't wanna live like bogus."

The studio cut is a bit of beat-laiden perfection, with bristling vocals and sick baseline. It's some measured indie rock, with a touch of rawness and a bit of grunge. But that's not what makes the band.

A couple tracks down, Jack, tweaks up the band's energy, voice snaps, and helium steadiness. In stark contrast, Teeth (my favorite), drops everything down into a bass-heavy garage rocker that grooves along much like the band does during its live performances. Here's another sampling, sans name.

That fan video from Westhill Hall in Brighton is a fine testament to why they'll be worth pulling over for a few stateside concerts. Even the addition of the beyond-EP track Flowers that FatCat recently shared with SPIN as an introduction to the upcoming September album Grin, brings something new to the rattling procession of TRAAMS music. (So does Mexico's upbeat staccato fury if you can find it.)

Ladders EP By TRAAMS Climbs 8.7 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

While it's easy to dismiss the band on a quick shuffle during a heavy week of bands with names you know, TRAAMS quickly finds its place among them with a few listens. Every song on the 5-track Ladders EP, including the title cut, is a must own in advance of the upcoming album. And it doesn't hurt to know that two new tracks will be songs that you'll want to bring home too.

You can find the Ladders EP by TRAAMS on Amazon. You can also download it from iTunes. The EP is a steal at $3 (maybe less than the last coffee you bought). You can also find them on Facebook. They've shaved, for now.
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