Part rock opera, drug fueled dance party, math-core mayhem and indie pop-rock dreamscape, Sacramento, CA experimental rockers Tera Melos have never shied from the ambitious or esoteric. This foundation to their art, comparable in its fearlessness to Frank Zappa’s music, has allowed the band to explore and change while growing a global audience that expects nothing less. Trash Generator, the power trio’s third full length studio album, once again pushes into new sonic territory while keeping the footprints of their past sound alive and well represented.
The opening track “System Preferences,” is an excellent example of the bands musical diversity and unconventional approach to instrumentation and song structure – the bass playing the role of an anxious ticking clock behind Nick Reinhart’s ghostly rhythmic vocals. But like a late night out that gets quickly uncontrollable, the intensity of Trash Generator picks up quickly and seemingly out of nowhere. Title track, “Trash Generator,” finds the band back in its controlled chaos. Guitars and drums bounce and dart around the room, before quickly coalescing into an intense syncopated chorus. Without knowing what the hell Vocalist and Guitarist Nick Reinhart is meaning you can’t help but want to yell out with him “Trash Generator, I’m not the bad guy!”
While the constant fluctuation in energy and timing can be draining, Tera Melos has always been self-ware as to when to shift moods. “Mens Shirt,” a melancholy and dissonant song reminiscent of early nineties Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. is as straightforward as the group gets on Trash Generator. Nick’s vocals take on a more storyteller quality as the dynamics of the band drop adding a spacey dimension that the more technical songs lack all together. Coming off the psychedelic dream pop influenced X/D Out, it is refreshing to hear that some of the same influences carried over. Overall, however, Trash Generator is a representation of the bands technical prowess and songwriting that has developed over the last ten years. The riffs, the tapping, the melodic lead bass, the punctuated intense vocals, the sporadic jazz influenced drumming; these elements are executed as well as they ever have been. “Don’t say I know,” “Drawing,” and “Dyer Ln” represent the classic Tera Melos – fast and unconventionally melodic. The moods seeming to make sense for only a second before diving back into another part led by a fast guitar lead or explosive drum fill. It seems more about the journey to self-reflection than the cleaner realization once you have arrived. It’s a soundtrack to a working brain and the entire spectrum that it comprises.
Tera Melos has added another excellent addition to their ambitious and inventive catalogue. Trash Generatorcombines a staggering amount of musical elements into a cohesive and intricate musical picture that will satisfy longtime fans and amaze those who are just discovering them.