I can’t help but wonder if Tick Tock Tokyo’s name change to TTT was some kind of prank to make you sift through The Ten Tenors (TTT) listings that come up in a Google search, or perhaps that site of geeky gamers The Tremendous Trio (TTT)? Either way, their latest album Lands will inspire you to hunt down and sift your mum’s Devo and Bowie collection because they did it first and honestly, they did it better.
It’s not that TTT does it bad, but Lands is a bit of a cacophony of unoriginal sounds and finding the right environment to listen to it in proves difficult. On first listen it’s somewhat hostile, jilted and peculiar, so I wouldn’t recommend playing it while your Nan’s over for Devonshire tea. Given a second chance, the first place I’d listen to it would be on an mp3 player, surrounded by strangers on a busy street.
The album’s dissonance is alienating. Although the opening track ‘Change’, the first single released from the album, ‘Animal’ and the last track ‘At Land’ are melodious, they are strange compared to the rest of the album, which is mostly composed of monotonous, simple phrased chanting. Bassist Adrian Vecino and guitarist Marty Umanski spend most of the album in strange and disconnecting key signatures. They employ slap-bass and reverb techniques that scream of 80s-styled pop (on tacks like ‘States’ and ‘Traps’) and are scattered with post-modern, minimalist riffs.
Simon Gibbs who could be identified as the band’s vocalist, sounds awkward and comical, like Devo did before you saw them and knew they were comical. Images of TTT will tell you they’re not comical – they’re serious and button their shirts up to the very top of their collars AND comb their hair. The minimalist lyrics of ‘Hinterlands’ or ‘Tyranny’ are almost fleshed out during ‘Compass Point’ but it’s at this point that it becomes clear that TTT don’t want to elaborate. They’d like to construct a puzzle for which none of the pieces fit together but must all interact to complete the image.
Someone wise once told me, ‘You’ll know something’s avant garde because you won’t like it yet.’ Well, in my opinion, Lands is avant garde. It’s the perfect soundtrack for a strange place.