Trupa Trupa

Jolly New Songs review – TQ zine

OK, I know there’s some of you out there that don’t give a flying turntable arm stylus about an artist’s nationality, if the sounds are good, they’re good. Right? The merits of this approach aint something I’m about to ponder, discuss, or disagree with here, and in fact I do agree that if it’s worth listening to, what does it matter what nationality the band are? However, when a band as good as Trupa Trupa (from Poland!) remain under the radar for too long, questions need to be asked. Whatever the question, the answer will always be the same; “Go listen to ‘Jolly New Songs’”

This is an album that can be used as sound wallpaper if that’s your thing, but deserves, and at some points demands active listening. Do so, and you will be rewarded handsomely.

First off, a round of applause for Michal Kupicz who has done a sterling job in creating a live-feel album in the studio, and doing a great job with the mix, with all players in this 5 piece coming together as a cohesive entity. What of the sounds contained herein? At times I am reminded of 80’s garage bands, of drawn out soundscapes as with Barn Owl, Swans and Mogwai, of strident, beautiful song based tracks akin to The Strokes, The Beatles, and Toy (reviewed in TQ1). See a theme here? All western bands very much on the radar. Enough already!

‘Against a Breaking Heart of a Breaking Heart Beauty’ begins with slow guitar, bass and drums with vocals given a slight echo effect, and at around a third of the way in the pace quickens for a short while with some swooning guitar at the fore of the rhythm. Two thirds in and that pace picks up again, this time with a heavier guitar and keyboard motif and cymbal crashes. A great beginning.

‘Coffin’ offers a somewhat morbid picture of someone lying next to (I guess) their loved one who just happens to be in a “smooth coffin”. This funereal ditty is a catchy one, again with a great rhythm, and this is particularly so from half way in where again there’s some potent, strident guitar fret work, giving the band an opportunity to show another side of their ‘let loose’ character. These guys are no one trick pony. No siree!

The title track offers some great vocals and deserves much wider attention and recognition than I sadly feel it will garner. Great writing and playing, and a track that panders to the bands witty pop sensibilities.

‘Leave it all’ begins with short piece of multi-tracked guitar noodling, soon joined by percussion which is heavy on the tom toms (lovely). It’s a melodic track with vocals slightly low in the mix during the slow build towards a sixth minute crescendo – then a gradual slow down and fade away towards the eighth minute.

Trupa Trupa have really mixed it up on this eleven track album and ‘Love Supreme’ provides additional evidence with its waltz like tempo, and lullaby like sentimentalities based on the repeated refrain of ‘their love supreme’, background humming, heartbeat drum, sea-crash cymbals, and massed voices. Another example of the virtuosity of this 5 piece.

The track that really shakes it up, and is currently a personal favourite is ‘Only Good Weather’, which yet again shows another side of this inventive kaleidoscopic troupe. Great vocals and inter-playing throughout, with magnificently controlled freeform mangled improvised backwards vari-speed mashing.

This band will be lauded and applauded fifteen years after they have gone. Let’s not wait that long eh?

Andy Wood,

Jolly New Songs review – TQ zine