Ask TSR about their style of music and they'll say it's "post drone, space rock". This isn't wholly inaccurate but you should hear them for yourself. Which you can, as this is a
free, web-hosted release!
Early Transmissions of… feels somehow a lot shorter than its
50-minute duration. This is testament to its 10 cleverly varied tracks. There
is no discernible weak spot and from the opening howl of Joy/Sorrow,
it is clear TSR love their indie guitar heroes. Guthrie, Shields, Bickers – these
are elite tastes, yet in loving, skillful hands the results are more than pleasing. Joy/Sorrow surges
towards the listener with blazing guitars reminiscent of French stadium-fillers
Indochine. Vocals will follow but this opener stays instrumental with keys
twinkling like some distant constellation.
I'd stop short of pigeon-holing this band nu-gaze. Like many of my favourite
current acts, they're unafraid to employ the latest electronics in creating
a sound dynamic of their own. Fans of artists such as Manual, Bitcrush, and
Hammock will already know what I mean. Skill and knowledge of the latest keyboard
and software technology married to seminal indie influences, (Cocteau
MBV) makes for a very agreeable union indeed. The Morr Record label was one
of the first on the act with its Blue Skied an' Clear homage to Slowdive.
If you hear one track by TSR, then choose what is surely their repost to said
Morr recording - namely the stunning Blue Skies and Rain. This is a
download must and although it tips a nod to Slowdive, via Morr, the lovingly
warped guitar chords are pure Shields, (circa Tremelo EP).
What of the voice? There seem to be two vocal tracks on Blue Skies and Rain. One is echoing and dispassionate whilst the other is warmer and lighter. I get hints of other singers – Vini Reilly, Moby, even Hamish Mackintosh from little known Bella Union act The Wave Room, but I know I haven't quite nailed it. Answers on a postcard please.
There are many other highlights I should mention. The gentle Hush includes a jaw-dropping segment of distorted string-key that I still maintain sounds like E-bow. The playfully named (and performed) Nothing Hill has me picturing Underground station buskers joined suddenly by Guthrie for a light-hearted jam. That's Robin, by the way, not Woody. Although……….nah. The nicest surprise for me was discovering Blue Skies reprised, literally, its vocals backward tracked to terrific effect. It's like stepping back to 1989 with Shields re-mixing The Stone Roses. In other words…wow.
It seems these guys just want their work out there to be enjoyed by fans, which is great for us but they are genuinely too good to be unsigned. Check 'em out. Music for people who love music, by people who love music.