Troubled Coast

Letters

Written by: AP on 07/08/2011 21:49:07

Upon taking an interest in the skramz revival scene, it has struck me that the number of bands in it is actually quite immense. Yet very few of these have the ambition or ability to rise above the masses and create something truly noteworthy. The sound and aesthetics of the genre are limited at best, which has resulted in an indistinguishable mass of echoing guitar tones, desperate wails and depressing cover art, something that Troubled Coast have also managed to live up to with their debut album, "Letters", albeit achieving very little of note with it.

Having listened to such bands as La Dispute, Touché Amoré and The Saddest Landscape of late, I know not to be disillusioned; the genre has a lot to offer if done right. But where those bands are able to overwhelm the listener with negative emotions and summon a genuine sense of discomfort, Troubled Coast play without extravagance or complications, their no frills approach perhaps influenced by their taste for punk and hardcore as well. The result is a record that balances between harrowing slow tempos, such as those heard on "Amends", "Breathing" and "Night Drives", and faster songs driven by variants of the d-beat, of which "Drug Halo" is a good example. The inevitable side product of this tightroping technique is that Troubled Coast never manage to extract full benefits from either influence, making "Letters" far less emotive than some of the better skramz releases of today, and at the same time not urgent enough to compete with the higher caste of melodic hardcore bands, such as The Carrier and More Than Life.

Having said that, there is no doubt that a lot of thought has gone into shaping "Letters". Although the full extent of emotions the band probably intended to emit never succeeds in seeping through, there are moments, especially on "Feigned Belief", "A Shallow Place" and "Love", that evoke a wealth of feelings in the listener, the former with the aid of an energetic, driving rhythm section, and the two latter with fusions of cello, hypnotic drums, sombre bass, and highly textured guitar melodies. So while "Letters" is both too one-dimensional and not sufficiently strained to make a genuine impact, Troubled Coast obviously have a solid grasp on blending melodic and sensitive music with punk and hardcore. What's needed next is a more distinct sound, as well as a deluge of emotions, most simply unleashed via kicking up a bit more of a racket. Indeed, the primary issue with "Letters" is that it's too tame for what it wants to be.

Download: Drug Halo, Feigned Belief, A Shallow Place, Love
For the fans of: Harbours, Former Thieves, Foxxes
Listen: Facebook

Release date 05.04.2011
Pure Noise Records

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