For those wired a certain way, Tera Melos is the best fucking band on this beautiful, disgusting space rock we’re all riding. Clearly, there’s no one best anything in any creative field, but Tera Melos put every ounce of themselves into the music they make. They distil a quintessential version of their unique musical perspective, composed of an array of influences that create a unique sonic love signature.
But I digress: let’s get back to that gross and gorgeous space rock metaphor and how it actually describes the music this demented, brilliant trio of Earth citizens make. Tera Melos trade in a euphoric amalgamation of beauty and brutality, all with a palpable sense of the absurd. Making Muppet versions of the Flaming Lips and the Dillinger Escape Plan dry hump at Disneyland is the most reductive description I can think of.
Trash Generator, the band’s third album with its current lineup of Nick Reinhart (guitar, vocals), Nathan Latona (bass, vocals) and John Clardy (beast drums) concentrates everything that makes the band so fantastic — insane song structures, catchy falsetto pop-punk vocals atop gnarled riffs that mutate into alien anthems, crystalline progressive pop riffs at the turn of a dime — into tight, song-centric packages. Each overall composition is allowed a bit more breathing room and cohesive space for melody while still being as complicated as anything else the band have done.
Nick Reinhart’s sound design is the most notable area of the band’s growth on this album. There’s a reason he jibes so well with Nels Cline (Wilco) on their side project, Big Walnuts Yonder: the level of detailed care and creativity he puts into every facet of the sounds he generates with his guitar is of the highest order. We’re talking Hendrix, Weinman, Corgan, Moore and Ranaldo, Ronald Jones levels of ingenuity.
Perhaps the only quibble I can grasp at is that the bass and drums, despite being absolutely awesomely performed, are a smidgen low in the mix and generally overshadowed by the phenomenal guitar sound. It absolutely works on this album, but it’d be interesting to see what could happen with trade-offs in which instruments are bringing the sonic strangeness in the future.
Regardless, Tera Melos are in peak form on Trash Generator, dropping yet another album gorily bursting with uncontainable, joyous, genre-janking musicality and reaffirming them as the best rock band in my world. (Sargent House)