Todos Caerán

Town Of Cats

Written by: TL on 27/12/2013 23:10:49

To the world at large, the term screamo pretty much seems to have flashed in a pan and laid down to die in around 2006 or so, with all the widely known bands either hanging it up or taking off for more loosely defined neighbouring genres like post-hardcore, metalcore or lately "wave" hardcore. Unbeknownst to most music magazine reading enthusiasts however, the genre didn't die, it simply turned in on itself, huddling claustrophobically in a corner with the sounds of its founders, bands like Daitro and Saetia, catering almost exclusively to an almost secret circle of determined genre aficionados.

Truth be told, I haven't kept a close eye on what goes on in the genre for a while myself, partly because current screamo bands - or skramz bands as purist now call the "trvest" ones - shy from the promotion of the "tell all your friends on the internet"-era, but the Edmonton trio Todos Caerán still strikes me as a fairly good specimen of what newcomers can expect from the genre. Their name meaning "All Shall Fall" in Spanish, all the band's songs have so far been named after works by Japanese surrealist novelist Haruki Murakami, ensuring that the quintet seems cryptical and mysterious to anyone but those in the know. It makes sense for bands like Todos Caerán to conceptualize themselves as such, because adhering to the skramz aesthetic musically means being equally uncompromising and impenetrable. It's hence no surprise that their new EP "Town Of Cats" opens with over two minutes of ambiance, turning away impatient listeners and only gradually turning into something structured around the three minute mark, before devoting the latter half of it's almost nine minute run-time to bouncing frantic chord-patterns off each other while the band's vocalist howls and screams psychotically and unintelligibly.

The truth is that I only know just enough about the genre to place Todos Caerán in the same kneck of the woods as genre-staples Saetia, Daitro, Dominic and Funeral Diner, yet probably not enough to accurately say how and where they compare to whichever bands are holding screamo up presently. What I do know is that compared to Saetia and Daitro, Todos Caerán are less aggressive punk and more atmospheric post-rock when it comes to mood and songstructures, dragging most of the songs here along desolate-yet-intricate guitar progressions that last well past the six minute mark. Despite the wildly screamed vocals then, "Town Of Cats" does not really strike me as the kind of EP that makes you want to flip all your furniture and tear down the walls, rather it feels like a deeply immersive listen which can set a desperately thoughtful mood and make you lose track of time, for those moments when you really want to get reclusive, unsubscribing from your phone contract, disconnecting your internet and just huddling up to maybe also read some philosophical Japanese literature. I would mention the fourth track, "1Q84" as a song that stands out with an odd bit of friendly, lullaby-ish melody around the one minute mark and a great, urgent climax towards the end, but other than that, you should prepare to designate more than just handful of listens if you want to unearth more specific takeaways from an EP that otherwise bewilders you like a dark, enchanted forest towering before unwelcome visitors.

Really though, to me "Town Of Cats" is a release that makes me realise that a past ambition of mine - to keep up with what happened in a fringe genre like this one while also becoming an authority on more buzzing genres of rock - has eventually slipped as I've become too distracted by the latter. I sort of wish I could turn the record over to a writer whose hands were so regularly submerged in screamo that he could offer even more insight, but since I'm the only one here who's heard the record and since I've only really ever dipped my toes in the genre, I have to go with my gut and assess that while Todos Caerán appear as perfectly capable torch bearers of the genre's proven virtues, there's little on "Town Of Cats" that suggests to me that many outside fans should make the effort to start treating screamo or skramz as more than curiosities if they haven't already found an appreciation for the stuff at this point.


Download: 1Q84, Sputnik Sweetheart
For The Fans Of: Dominic, Funeral Diner, Saetia, Daitro

Release Date 16.12.2013
Timber Records / Save Your Generation Records

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