We received this promo from a self-described "Motown surf band" from Savanah. Being a bit of a Motown enthusiast, i grabbed the promo and plopped it on my phone for later listening.
A few days later i was at work listening to everything on random, and a song burbled to the top of the mix. It started with a slow wash of echoed guitar, a heartbeat drum riff, and aahing voices in layers. A guitar tinkled over this haze briefly, a short riff... Then the drum kicked and a shoegaze tune jangled in, with echoed voices and catchy melody. I looked to see what it was, and it turned out to be Brain Dead but Triathalon.
Huh. This record definitely merited a deeper listen, and it has not disappointed. As to what drew me in -- the Motown comparison, well, there is a hint of that here, i guess. I don't really hear this as surf rock -- it's not very Ventures-y. But it is sunshiny pop, and it hits me in that spot that still loves mid 1990s shoegaze.
Brain Dead is the second track on the album. It is preceded by a short intro, High Tide. This is a minute or so of layered, effected guitar, very much in the vein of Robin Guthrie.
After Brain Dead, Triathalon get a little noisy with Get Back. The voice is distorted and the guitars grind as the drums drive the song along fast. It's a lovely little tune, really bouncy.
I can hear a hint of Beach Boys-y jangle in Surfing. And at the same time, this sparkles like a male-fronted Gold Motel. Huh. This is another really good song. Downtown carries that aesthetic forward with that slow, swaying rhythm of early 60s teen pop. I feel like i need to be drinking a malted as i listen to this.
Triathalon bring out a Johnny Marr guitar riff to drive Kelly Slater. The guitar chimes along, and the whole thing is a little faster than the previous song.
They slow it back down for Usher Surfing, the guitar a slow echoed strum and the drums echoed like in a reggae tune. The voice is slow and falsetto here. For most of the song, the sparkle is turned all the way up on the guitar, but on the choruses everything gets a little more overdriven, and again i am reminded of Gold Motel.
The band jangles their way through Swells, the guitar positively shimmering as the band grooves nicely. This one gets me bouncing along and is really fun.
Title track Low Tide mixes it up with acoustic guitar. The other guitar echoes faintly and the voice is falsetto again. About halfway through the song, the drummer comes in with a martial beat, and the song sort of gallops along for a while. To be honest, this is my least favorite song here.
Finally we end with Hawaiian Boi, another acoustic number, although without the falsetto. It's slow and meandering, again, not too interesting. Which is a disappointment. The album starts off so well and has many great songs, but the final coda of two slow acoustic numbers kind of annoys me.
Still, very interesting stuff. More shoegaze than surf rock. More Johnny Marr than Motown. And actually, if you think about it, Johnny Marr with shoegaze distortion pretty sums up my listening preferences.
I highly recommend this. And i hope they come to play Atlanta soon.