by Kris Handel (@khandel84)
A Laughing Death in Meatspace is the first record from this Australian four piece that consists of Gareth Lilliard and Fiona Kitschen from the Drones, with assistance from Lauren Hammel and Erica Dunn. Released earlier in the year in Australia, A Laughing Death in Meatspace is a record that never relents on its energetic and pummeling psych-rock. Lilliard and Kitschen meld their voices together seamlessly to create a neat dynamic that cuts through dueling guitars and swirling keyboard and electronics. Tropical Fuck Storm manage to stretch their righteousness and anger to lengths that always remain compelling, distinct, adventurous and distinct.
“You Let My Tyres Down” introduces the record and is driven along by swooping bass in between sonic explosions of guitars as Lilliard wearily grumbles his concerns over reverb drenched lead guitars and quiet/loud shifts that hit at all the right moments. Lilliard and Kitchen really meld beautifully during the chorus which adds a little sweetness into the hectic fray that will have you bobbing and shouting along. “Two Afternoons” attacks in a ferocious manner with squealing and screaming guitars fighting for space between extremely forceful drum work and chanting-esque vocals that create a hum that covers the sonic atmosphere. “Two Afternoons” throws a lot at the listener be it the unrelenting guitar squalls or a little keyboard breaks that add a bit of a middle-eastern influence to the sound.
“Antimatter Animals” moves along at a leisurely pace with drums and bass bouncing around each other to create a unique and fluid groove as Lilliard hisses and spits out lyrics like “If you want to be remembered/You’re only making everything much worse,” and “Your politics are nothing/But a fond fuck you.” Even at a less intense pace and instrumentation, the frustration and disappointments carry a powerful intensity that TFS know how to fully capitalize upon. “Soft Power” takes things down a notch as they once again find a pocket in a groove that pushes everything along and works very nicely with Lilliard’s unique vocal flow and ranting. On tracks like “Soft Power,” TFS show their willingness to play with expectations and are not afraid to take on new dimensions of their sound most notably in their ability to play with space and moments of ambiance to get their points across.
Although us in the States had to wait to the end of the year to get a full release of this record, A Laughing Death in Meatspace is well worth the patience. This record really doesn’t miss the mark in any context as TFS have created a record that is extremely cohesive, well-paced and tracked. Lilliard varies his vocal styling to wonderful affect and the ever-flexible musical atmospheres create a record that is thoroughly engaging and has a little bit of everything for psych and noise-rock fans. There may be moments that recall past musical movements, mostly vocal similarities to Mark E. Smith and David Yow, but it really is hard to pin down in the best way possible. A Laughing Death in Meatspace is a record that reveals more and more with every listen and that is something to be really be excited about.