Review – “Softpush” – Terrorista

a1465121502_10reviewed by Chris Matei

Toronto’s Terrorista bill themselves as “post-post-post-punk” and, fittingly, their style wraps all the way around from gnarly super-textured guitar growls and screamed vocals to an early-days Billy Corgan/Silversun Pickups type of melodic riff-driven indie rock sound. Heavier and denser than their opposing coast’s much-celebrated DIY rockers Japandroids, and not as wiry-tense or shred-happy as Kingston-area twosome PS I Love You, Terrorista nonetheless slot themselves into a niche that will no doubt please fans of the movement toward loud, brash, minimalist post-punk-rock duos (we miss you, Woodhands!) that has gestated and grown since the heady days of basement shows by a young DFA1979.

On their Softpush EP, Terrorista have shown an eagerness to bring the big guns to the party: the record’s guitar sounds are uniformly massive, crushing walls of sound with wattage of the kind that only a Sunn O)))-esque tower of backline might compete with.  Opener “Sarah Michelle Gellar” wastes no time introducing the listener to the core elements of the band’s sonic identity: those massive guitars churning hard in the verses, then giving way to chiming, soft-voiced interludes built on high-register melodic passages. It’s not quite as simple as loud-quiet-loud, though, as the title track shows in its delicate and complex transitions between bridge and outro phrases.

“Morriseau’s Black” reaches a number of peaks: the song features the most aggressive vocals on the EP, the idyllic lyrics contrasted with their full-throated delivery. It pulses and stabs, adding power and sharpening in the choruses with the suddenness of a switched-on stompbox. The drums, too, come to the fore here. It’s definitely the highlight of this four-song slice.

Unfortunately, that highlight is followed up with the album’s closing statement and perhaps its weakest track, “In a Crowd”, in which a darker and more serious timbre clouds the energy and forcefulness that came before it. It’s all a bit mumblecore, really – a dulling of Terrorista’s strengths as shown on Softpush‘s earlier cuts.

Find this record and play it loud: it will offer glimmers and hints of indie rock forebears that have since perhaps gone to seed, while splicing in a strain of furious energy all its own.

Top Track: “Morisseau’s Black”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)

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