Of The Sun review - The Quietus
Listening to the apparently simple songs of Trupa Trupa often reminds me of reading a nineteenth-century novel; a gripping slog with beautiful, luminous moments that stay with you long after you’ve stopped listening. In this exercise the band act as both narrators and composers of a quest that never seems to have a satisfactory ending. From the off, with the single ‘Dream About’, they drop you headfirst into their strange world of half-thought fancies and uneasy confabulations. The feeling they are showing you some terrible magic lantern show is never far away.
There is still a suspicion that – as with their previous long player, Jolly New Songs – the spirit of Syd Barrett is just around the corner, waiting to be whistled on stage. This is Syd, though, reincarnated as an elderly Gothicke Mage. Mr Abney perhaps. The maudlin ‘Angle’ and slightly more upbeat ‘Longing’ are cases in point. In fact ‘Longing’ is a key track for me in unlocking this band’s psyche. It’s a steady three-chord battering disguised as a simple pop song. The track stares long and hard into its own pool for its allotted three minutes like a colossally ugly Narcissus, obsessed with its own misshapen form.
Trupa Trupa’s ongoing refusal to engage with anyone but themselves is certainly addictive to listen to. Take the switch from major to minor chord – and the abrupt ending – on the brilliantly cynical ‘Glory’. It is worth playing over and over; especially when you consider the cut follows on from what must be the most throwaway nothing of a title track recorded in this last decade. Just when the listener demands some form of release of affirmation, the band walk away. This is very noticeable by the end of the record where the listener negotiates their way through an increasingly desolate landscape littered with brutally smashed up, or half-finished sonic bricolage. Signs of a recorded misanthropy? Signs of a band deliberately clinging on to their Golem-like reputation? Who knows. I am sure they wouldn’t give you an answer.