Has someone done a welfare check on Tropical Fuck Storm? If not, can someone, anyone do so soon? Nearly four years in and now three full lengths deep, the band once described by some cyberverse Twatter as “a stoner dad and his three lesbian daughters” has been strong champions of Australian underground’s grimey soundscape in ever expansive and ironically claustrophobic fashion. Each time the releases grow in grandeur so too does that grandeur turn in on itself in an overwhelming panic. This dual evolution was garnering its own head of steam prior to the collective trauma of the past two years. Deep States remains ambiguous and confused albeit with a defeatist blithe. A ceaseless tumult of niggling sounds strung out together by mimicking guitars and unfairly smooth vocal harmonies is this record. Tropical Fuck Storm maintain or at the very least, are strong conduits for chaos.
The Greatest Story Ever Told bears this flag proudly and with perfect representation. For it to kick off Deep States, it’s the ideal mood setter. The song waddles around in a dejected stupor as the stoner day Gareth Liddiard drawls and outright mumbles at points before birthing a triumphant chorus. This chorus is equipped with the aforementioned gorgeous vocal harmonies. Then its night on gear abuse resulting from sounds and effects pinging off each other like anti-melody missiles. An extended solo serves as an outro. An outro that revels in bringing back that retinue of ruckus. In a stark change of pace, G.A.F.F is a close quarters tussle that thrives off a fretful pace. Lauren Hammel’s drums go at an awkward shuffle and truly throws this song from the ground up. Guitars from Liddiard and Erica done prick away like some kind of auditory pins and needs. All this amplifies the tension. Blue Beam Baby has an angular beauty towards the back end as the refrain of “do you see what I see” swells. Just behind this gorgeous refrain hides a sound somewhere between a siren and the warble of magpies; a stellar inclusion but real “shit your pants and duck your head” stuff when you’re listening to this while you’re walking.
After this, Suburbiopia is the crunch of dying electronics and its noise slips into Bumma Sanger’s nimble, anxious movements. Almost every note song here is partnered by guitars matching it. The progression of this song’s eventual despondency is so cleverly modelled with the music. It is desperate to assert some kind of autonomy, to resist the inevitable genuflect to germs, and a youthful want to remain recalcitrant. However, as it progresses and acceptance becomes more omnipotent, the backing vocals now command directions of “relax” and “kick back”. Now there’s no choice subdue yourself and acquiesce into submission. On the flip side of that, Reporting of A Failed Campaign goes in the opposite direction. It builds in concert with the narrative. The narrative involving tv stations, black mail, journalists, greased palms, and R. Budd Dwyer ending. While Bumma Sanger relaxes into atrophy, Reporting of A Failed Campaign picks up steam as the climax approaches to make it feel like a highly involved spy film.
Ending Deep States is the down trodden due of Legal Ghost and The Confinement of Quarks. Legal Ghost drones on with a mellow introspection and is a welcome transition away from the fretful and anxious music throughout the record thus far. A dour note permeates through this track and boils over a feeling of alienation. It’s a languid progression and is a surreal lullaby where the atmospheric sounds of the previous points now become a calm, dreamy background. To wrap this up, Quarks purely instrumental palette was comforting.
Has that welfare check been conducted yet? I know Tropical Fuck Storm will ultimately be okay though but the overarching narrative of despondency and dejection do leave some calls for concern. How they mulch an endless parade of mismatched sounds like the visually affronting march in Paprika is a baffling thought. To do so in a way that’s as captivating and poignant, now that’s something worth checking out.
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