With so much experimentalism blowing up in the underground at the moment, there’s been a lot of debate among critics as to what constitutes smart compositional dabbling and what is merely a cheap recreation of Sonic Youth, but in the case of the new record Tides from The Transonics, I think the talent of the creators speaks for itself. The Transonics caught my eye a couple of years ago when they released their debut album, but here, they’re a lot more relaxed as they approach surreal harmonies in the title track, “Midnight,” and the intoxicating “Tequila.” It’s like they’ve shaken off the pressures that come with getting off the ground and found their real center as a band, and in Tides, we get a complete sampling of who they are today.
“When You Were Mine” and “Getcha” blend a lot of pop, punk, and retro rock themes together in what inevitably starts to feel like an avant-garde tribute to rebellion, but they never slip so far away from a mainstream concept as to leave the listener feeling a little overwhelmed by all of the experimentation coming together in real-time. The Transonics don’t sound urgent – they legit sound like they’re in a rush to pour all of this emotion into a container too small for the feelings it’s made to hold, and yet the chaos that ensues from this winds up communicating a strangely relaxing swagger on behalf of the players. They’re indulging in viciously ironic songcraft here, and sound startlingly chill in the most discordant of situations.
The progressive elements in “Orange Sunshine” and the title track are relatively subtle in the big picture of Tides, but they’re also difficult to ignore if you’ve got as much of an ear for music as I do. The Transonics have a storyteller side that isn’t limited to the content of the lyricism exclusively but instead spreads through every inch of space their music occupies at full volume. Much like their predecessors, they’re adept at taking abstract concepts and converting them into vehicles for emotional confessions, and this is undeniably the most complete set of songs to depict their capabilities to hit record store shelves since the band came together not too long ago.
APPLE MUSIC: https://music.apple.com/us/album/tides-ep/1572182831
I’m really happy I came across The Transonics and Tides this summer, as I think it’s an exceptional release from a group that had the potential to get even better than their 2019 debut suggested they could. They’ve come a long way in a really short amount of time, and if they remain on this present artistic trajectory, they’re going to find themselves leading a portion of the ongoing movement towards psychedelic-tinged punk and pop/rock before a lot of their contemporaries get their own sounds off the ground. Tides pushes the envelope ever so slowly to the left of the dial, and personally, I believe it’s only scratching the surface of what The Transonics are going to do with their next proper full-length album. I’ll be looking forward to covering it, and in the meantime I recommend noise-pop, alternative rock, and college radio fans around the country check out this latest piece to bear this band’s branding.