Terror Rooms is available at:
1st September, 2015
Performed and recorded by Outer Rooms and Terrorista all at once:
Andrew Fitzpatrick; Sean Fitzpatrick; Matt Frewen; Sam Hargrove; Rich Taylor
Mixed by Kevin O’Leary
Mastered by Jay Hodgson.
People Float (Terrorista ft. Outer Rooms) – 9.4
Driver (Outer Rooms ft. Terrorista) – 9.4
I’M not in Kansas anymore…
or London, for that matter. It is back to Canada, for what is, a rather different review- with two new acts. Normally, I just take on an act/band/whomever; assess their new song/E.P. (occasionally) album- and that is that. Today, something unique is unfolded: two fellow (Toronto-based) acts; conspiring and bonding forces- for a split-cassette/two-track release. The very notion made me smile and wonder: how often does that occur? Even in the U.K., it is almost unheard-of: artists coming together for a mini-E.P./release- usually music (in that sense) is compartmentalised and disconnected; singles are released (with collaborations; album tracks too) yet a stand-alone release? Being in unknown territory- in regards the componence and presentation of the music- it brings me to a few new subjects. I love the idea of bands getting together; putting together a ‘split-cassette’ record; a two/three-track presentation- each band takes a lead on one track; collaborate on the other. Not only does it unveil new material; a new sound from a band- it shows how they unite (with their fellow musicians); provide something quite different and fresh. It is not quite a single (unless you count one track a B-side); it is not quite an E.P. (not sure how you’d classify it) – it has its own label and identity; something not-often tackled in music. Maybe it happens (a lot in) Canada; something that is being popularised and proffered- I am not overly-sure how the Canadian music scene differs- or this may be a one-off. It seems there is a great communal spirit; a brotherly spirit- coming out of the musicians of Toronto. My featured artists pair seamlessly; along with (fellow acts) Watershed Hour and Sly Why, there seem to be an affinity and mutual respect- all-too-willing to share the music, ideas and the stage. This gives me much heart and reflection; new sorts of music- where one-off releases can really inspire something influential. I have not really heard of it in the U.K. – where there would be a split-cassette-like happening- but it may have occurred; it should certainly happen more. What the Toronto boys have shown- on their latest collaboration- is what results can come about; how strong the music is. Instead of introducing the band(s)- like I usually would in a paragraph- it is worth assessing them together. Terrorista are a two-peace (sic.), Punk/Post-Punk band. Sam Hargrove and Rich Taylor offer “post-post-post-punk” (they are THAT ahead of their times) that seems to be classic and futuristic- something elementary raw and instilled with melody. Keeping their make-up simple- your drum-guitar-vocal combination- are you get something of-the-moment. With the likes of Royal Blood- a name I like to bandy-about- leading a Rock/Punk revival; Terrorista are harder and faster- a by-the-seat-of-your-underwear duo; they make a regal sound- whilst showing enough heart and intelligence (to soothe and satisfy those who want some peaceful edges). Over the summer, the Terrorista two-some united with Outer Rooms: the brainchild of Andrew Fitzpatrick, Sean Fitzpatrick and Matt Frewen. Heart-rocking, soul-lifting and feet-moving Rock is created; a small band (with small guys, as they claim) they make big, big music. Blitzing and kick-to-the-head riffs soar and grab; their music is both primal and anthemic- ready-made for the hungry arena crowds. Whilst both bands have a different sound; they share a common ideal: to make sky-scarping music; inject hard and heaviness with stunning riffs- ensure the end result is instantaneous and emotive; demands fevered investigation. It seems only natural the two noise-armies would unite; weld together their (distinct and eager) sounds- into something stunning and scintillating. Having their own sounds- and both bands being original- there may have been trepidation: how would they work together? Would collaborating distill (each band’s) sound? On all fronts, skepticism and doubts have been allayed; any reticence has been dissipated- the results speak for themselves. Before I assess the new songs- and give a musical history on both acts- I am back in Canadian territory. A while ago, I was in the midst of a Canada-only review cascade. It got to the point where I had to levy an embargo- having been on the mailing list of a music agency; I was being pelted with samey bands; from the exact same area. With the musicians of Hamilton, Ontario (dozens of the buggers) mailing me by the day- where the bands started to merge and lose identity- it got too much; quite frustrating and depressing. It was great reviewing the odd band- there were some gems in the haystack- yet I am glad I have stepped-away from Hamilton: arriving now in Toronto; it will be my last Canadian review (for a few weeks at least). I have always been a fan of Canadian music- its vibrancy and inventiveness; the diversity and originality- yet some areas (not Hamilton, in particular) tend to produce similar acts: a lot of Indie/Alternative sounds; a lot of the same sound very similar (to everything else out there). I have reviewed Toronto-born music before- loathed if I can recall the names of the acts/bands- but came away feeling refreshed and stunned; it seems to be breeding terrific music- a city with a wealthy and glorious history. If we look at Toronto, it has spawned some legendary acts: from Barenaked Ladies and METZ; to Crystal Castles to Death From Above 1979; along to Feist and Broken Social Scene. There is a lot of different genres being represented: Rap from K-os; Electro-clash from Peaches- Hardcore from Cancer Bats. Across the spectrum and range, there is endless passion and options- a city that provides sounds for all music-lovers. Canada’s most populous city, it may not be a surprise- that it is showcasing so many wondrous acts- but there is a great sense of neighbourhood and altruism; connecting and sharing- that may be the reason behind it. Whatever the reason; eyes should be trained here- one of the world’s most prolific music centres. Among the new, young musicians; playing terrific hard/Post-Punk jams- two of its finest have joined forces.
Released in August (recorded last year) the Colour Tape Compilation was Terrorista’s last release. Boating vibrancy and stunning designs- the band are naturals when it comes to eye-catching covers and releases- it is packed and busy record. Able to purchase in purple, pink, green and blue, the compilation resonated with fans and reviewers. Philip Seymour Hoffman is a jagged and rumbling thing. A track that has an endless drive and determination, it has a stripped-down and lo-fi sound; production values that allow it to sound live and somehow polished- a rare trick. Darren vs. Bag is a more guttural and ‘90s sounding track. It has a great by-gone flair- mixing undertones of Grunge and Metal- yet is very much distinct and original. Sean Drums is a more relaxed and uplifted affair- in the opening exchanges- that shows the band in a more relaxed mood. Looking at cracked pavements and empty rooms; stars and the moon- the boys are in more pontificating and reflective mode. Canvas stutters and races in the opening; within silence there will be laughter; you can (song’s subject) use my “body as a canvas”- put holes in it. The song is vivid and eye-catching; it could be a story of love and fractured relations; perhaps something less tangible- there is some mystery and obliqueness to things. The eight-track release shows the band at their fiery peak: brimming with ideas and passion, the mini-album has no fillers; it is packed with stand-out moments. One of the record’s down-sides is the clarity: some of the lyrics get buried and overlooked; they are mixed too far down. Because it is a raw and gritty release, it can sacrifice concision and audibility- there is an emphasis on feel and sound; as opposed to lyric clarity. Terror Rooms shows the same sort of production values; yet the lyrics seem clearer and more understandable- not quite overlooked and buried. Outer Rooms have a similar backstory and sound, so when the two bands combine, there are no scares and slips- it is very much business as usual. Both acts sound at their most vibrant and essential: the new (two tracks) are among the most compelling and rewarding- either act has ever produced. A year ago, Outer Rooms unveiled (their self-titled) E.P.: a four-track record that is a little less raw and lo-fi (than Terrorista). What Outer Rooms is more clarity and decipherability: they provide lyric sheets (on BandCamp); making it easier to dig into songs- get behind them and discover their meaning. Ribbons sees punched-up vocals inject emotion and vivacity. The lyrics look at alleyways and beat-downs; sweaty tongues and ribbon-filled mouths. Not as rushed and energised as Terrorista- their music is a little more ‘traditional’ in that sense- there is obliqueness and fascination. The words grab you in; you are fascinating and intrigued- just what their origins are. Domino Backyard is about returning home- after being kicked out- and looking at the wasted teenagers; the rather mundane life and trying to move past it. Perhaps there is an air of sadness- maybe wanting to be part of the home scene; the graduates and the wasted teens- yet there seems to be underlying resentment and anger. Rawhead is a clattering and jumping thing; a song that looks at peeled skin and spit; danger and violence- those spectacular and detailed lyrics are back. Outer Rooms- as compared to Terrorista are more oblique with their lyrics- whereas Terrorista go for more direct and emotive. The Outer Rooms sound is- whilst more tradition-based- imbued with clarity and emotion; less Punk-y and hard (than Terrorista). Since last year- and working with their mates- Outer Rooms have a new lease; they seem more confident and urgent- picking up hints from their city-mates. Driver– their contributing to the cassette- sticks with their lyrical traditions and sounds; the addition of Terrorista sees harder edges come in- mixing the sound (of both bands). Bottom-line, each act has grown in stature and confidence; they sound effortless and up-for-the-fight- the songs ooze light, dark and emotion; interesting scenes and fascinating characters. With new Terrorista music in-the-works, let’s hope Outer Rooms follow suit.
People Float sees Terrorista take the lead (first off). A crunching and cosmic guitar swagger greets to the track- with some hissing and tender percussive drive backing it. Emotive and dramatic, initial words cause speculation and wonder: “If you live through this/you’ll never run faster”. Those words had me guessing and picturing; what was being assessed- a myriad slew of sights can to mind. Beautiful life and peaceful nights; the band are at their most pressing and captivating- the vocals reminding me a little of Nirvana and Foo Fighters. With such a graveled and concrete projection to the voice- that brings all the words sharply into focus- you get sucked-into the song. Although some words get mixed-down/overshadowed, the texture and passion of the song resonates- it is hard not sit to attention. With Terrorista and Outer Rooms forming a five-piece sound, it allows the song to become fuller and more dramatic- the bands are seamless together; fusing their sounds naturally- resulting in something both new-sounding and familiar. There is a great emphasis on the complete sound; those instruments combining and voicing- the composition is nuanced and insistent; anthemic and fist-aloft. Vocals are combined in an army-call of “sit up”- a mantra that seems to be the song’s core; a call-to-attention; a kick to the mid-section. Razor-wired and electrifying, the bands are at their height- the song gets its biggest punch of power and passion. The track uses the river metaphor to great effect: some people float downstream; others sink like led- I was curious what was being documented. Washed-up in the compositional fury- and the rabble of words and lyrics- by this stage, I was looking-back- seeing what the boys were witnessing. To my mind, there is a general evaluation of the population: maybe the anger is directed at a subject, yet there seems to be larger concerns- a general malaise/issue that is affecting them; causing disconcertion and disgust. The song hits its peak when the vocals are augmented and shouted: the bolstered and bellicose codas hit their stride- it implores you to sign along in protest; direct your energy at (the song’s subjects) and get on board. The song boasts terrific interplay and understanding: both bands understand their role and place; they boost and drive each other- never stepping on toes or failing to gel. Connecting and playing with the utmost intuition and respect, you get a stunningly evocative track- the heaviest thing Terrorista have produced. Following-on from their last release- and its spirit and sound- they are more compelling here; have a new injection of inspiration. Perhaps there are one or two minor points- that issue of intelligibility and concision come back- and at times the vocal gets too rushed and tripped- meaning some of the words are over-layered and muted-out. The important sentiments and subjects remain true and understandable: the boys manage to compensate with plenty of spirit and wonderment. Outer Rooms are a useful addition: the extra bodies (and voices) add to the song; give it a vitality and substance. Whether they will unite again- or carry on their separate paths- it would be great to see. Here, they seem to be completely dedicated and focused on the subject matter: Terrorista are in their playground; Outer Rooms are a little heavier and foreign here- neither sounds nervous or unsure (at any point). People Float is as striking as its title; simple and effective lyrics that whip-up a storm of ideas and speculation- the band have a skill with lyric economy and momentum. The track is a stunning one-off (well, two technically) that shows possible future direction- perhaps their new E.P. will contain similar numbers?
Driver sees Outer Rooms take the lead. A fast and finger-picking riff opens the song- you think it will go into Ace of Spades territory- giving it a huge initial kick. Unlike People Float, here there is more emphasis on build-up and instrumentation. The composition jumps and bounces; it elicits a punchy and passionate kick- compels the listener to nod their head in support; be swept away by the force and potency. Losing track of “who I want to be” there is introspection and anger at the start: the vocal is enflamed and determined. Self-doubt and recrimination is afoot; some need for investigation and change- the listener is engrossed by that catchy and effusive composition; the spellbinding swagger and urgency. Feeling lost and angered- “Who’s going to talk with me?”- our hero’s voice is wracked with pain and concern. Concerns about contentment; bloodied noses; people smiling- images and scenes wrapped and twisted into the boiling pot. When coming to a definition of the song; what has caused its creation- there seems to be a lot of personal angst and rage here. Whether compelled by the community/an aspect of it- or some heartache or split- it is being funneled into a riotous and psychotropic. Sounding heavier and more rushing- than anything the band have created to this point- you can hear Terrorista’s influence; their hard-edged brand of music works (its way in) here. The song has the feel of a jam session; a live session- the instrumentations was recorded in a quick collaborative session- bringing the song to life. It does not mean it is unfocused and tossed-off: the urgency and insistency of the setting has worked wonders; brought the song to life. The firework guitar work- the riffing arpeggios and frantic lightning- bonds with the persuasive percussion. Both bands offer plenty of weight and authority: you are stunned by the momentum and urgency. Our hero is tired of smiling and sitting back; snarling at nothing- action is being taken. The Terrorista boys add some vocal bite and chomp; combined with Outer Rooms you get a multi-layered attack: something that adds emotion and nuance to the delivery. The composition- benefitting from the input of both bands- keeps mutating and developing; little touches flourish and burn; notes spiral and smile- it is a rich and fascinating thing. Like the sister track- where both bands unite in a chant- here we get a similar thing. Our hero direct to the driver- whether it is a limousine or a taxi- to “rollup the windows”. You get the impression they are headed for a river; plunging into the depths- maybe as a story counterpart to People Float. Maybe I am reading too much into it, but it seems like this is the ‘first part’- or follow-on from the previous tale. The instruments are turned down slightly; the vocal is up front- that repeated messages come back; it is clear and concise. Blood-curdling and fierce, the message is clear: “Let’s so how deep this lake is”. Whether suicidal or death-defying; maybe a dare or a last option- you sense the vehicle racing to the water. Hard and vibrating; rampant and buzzing, the composition really hits home; keeps on pressing and amazing- doing its work. Before the song is through, the bands unite their voices; reinject that coda- the images of bloody noses and smiling. As the last notes fizz, you wonder how it ended: has the vehicle hit the water; what is their fate- and how did they fare? Anyway, you are compelled to revisit and spin the track; hear that stunning composition- all its layers and sounds; its dance and energy.
Both bands present different and unique tracks. Staying close to their roots- and following on from their last releases- the news tracks mark a slight change. Terrorista have brought in an element of composure and melody- thanks to Outer Rooms- whereas their mates have a bit more bite and intensity- thanks to Terrorista. I cannot fault either, much: both songs are stunning and gripping; neither passes by without a fight- and both leave huge impressions. To start, the instruments were recorded live; on the flip- captured in a live setting as it were. After that, the vocals were added-in; mixed to create two raw and stunning songs- that should be witnessed, investigated and loved. The production values give (both songs) a very edgy and natural sound; like you are listening to the songs in the flesh. Exhilarating and exuberant; packed with slice-of-life lyrics and personal insight- kudos to both bands. Their timeless and brotherly bond makes both songs fizz and remain; I would love to see more collaborations- another split-cassette offering.
The Toronto-based Terrorista are sure to do good things: they have tapped-into a rare vein of form; a fantastic sound- that lodges itself into the brain. With Outer Rooms, they are among the city’s most urgent and impressive bands- the current release showcases that. I know both bands will be hitting the road; taking their music to the masses- embarking on their separate careers. The duo has just completed their new E.P.; a chance for fans to hear their work- and what is currently on their mind. Their local representation and fan-base is growing; they have a loyal and rising core- that is going to keep on expanding. In the coming weeks, the boys will gauge reception (to the split-cassette); see how it is being received- and plan new moves. Outer Rooms have their own course set. In addition to touring with Terrorista (and a couple of other local bands) the boys will be setting their sights on music- stamping their claim on the music landscape. Terror Rooms‘ two-song cut is not just a chance for some larks- friends coming together for something unique- but it is a welcome change to experience new music. The duo of tracks shows how well the bands work together; what a (combined) noise they can make- the results are scintillating. I opened the review by mentioning two topics (specifically): Canadian bands and the Punk scene. I have been away from Canada a little; spending time reviewing U.K. and U.S. bands- remise and ignorant to the developments. Having discovered all Ontario can offer- you would think anyway- I am back in Toronto. Being Canada’s most populous and busy city, it is producing the nation’s finest acts- a wealth of diverse and innovative bands. In the U.K., cities like London are surging through; stamping some (of the U.K.s) best acts- and inspiring the rest of the nation. The mainstream media- and media sources that dig out the best new music- tend to focus on their own nation- it is hard to assess music from everywhere. Away from dedicated blogs and wars-to-the-ground merchants, how do we discover (acts like Terrorista and Outer Rooms)? You can rely on chance and luck- social media sharing and bloggers- yet that seems like a bad way to do it. I fear I am missing out on so many great acts- because it is so hard to find them all- and wonder how we can rectify this. For now, it is a case of taking positive steps. Having been made aware of Terrorista (and Outer Rooms) I am keeping my eyes on Toronto- from a listening perspective- digging-out what they have to offer; hoping to be led to other great acts. Terrorista have a great bond with Outer Rooms; the two works wonderfully together- Toronto has a community spirit and a great collaborative air. What Terror Rooms has shown is the power of inventiveness: doing something different and charming. The two-song release has a great retro. edge to it. Although available online- BandCamp and SoundCloud- there is a physical release- a stunningly-designed cassette that fans can snap-up. It helps the songs are awesome too- as People Float and Driver prove- and this should lead to something great. It would be interesting to see (if the two bands) do this again; whether other acts do a split-cassette project- they are a great breath of fresh air. It leaves me to talk a bit about Punk: a genre that is wide-open and diverse. With U.K. bands like Wolf Alice coming through; some terrific up-and-coming Pink acts showing themselves- the genre is witnessing a revival. It has always been plugging away, yet it is very much in vogue: the public are being gripped and seduced; Punk sounds are filling the waves. The Punk scene has a lot of mobility and wiggle-room. It is not just a one-note flat genre (like some can be) but has potential to be opened up and reinvented. Terrorista and Outer Rooms play Post-Punk (a modernised version of the classic ‘70s sound); they have a lo-fi and raw sound; something vibrant and gut-kicking. With the proliferation of bland acoustic guitar acts; generic and predictable R ‘n’ B; plenty of insufficient music- we need more reliability and dependability. In the U.K., the underground is producing some vitality and potential: acts that can be mainstream leaders; genre-splicing and eager. In Canada, it seems the same is true: the public want something different; music that is nuanced and rich. Terror Rooms is not a gimmick or a trick; it is a passionate and stunning release- sure to influence other acts. With autumn upon us and the mainstream not really igniting- it is high-time we embrace something new and steeped in potential. Terrorista and Outer Rooms are tremendous bands (in their own right) but together they are even stronger- working wonderfully off of one another. If you have not heard Terror Rooms, make sure you change this. You will…
NOT regret it.
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