The debut album from Brussels-based fourpiece TOTM cuts a distinctive path through dreamy folk, the rhythmic fluidity of Krautrock, percussive minimalism and hypnotic electronics. In vocalist and guitarist Charles Bernard they have a frontman that pours quiet emotion into each of the tracks on Bliss / Blurred, poised on a tension-filled wire between anguished musings and beguiling wonder, that voice being perfectly placed amid Nicolas Magrez’s intricate synth layers, Adrien Kaempf’s bass figures and Thomas Vaccargiu’s complex drumming.
Bliss / Blurred opens with the rapidly-evolving synth cycles and expanding sound palette of ‘Silver Apples’, becoming by turns serene and angular, finally opening out into a mass of restrained drumming and fuzzy riffs. The track sets the scene for the album’s frequent switches in direction, from ‘Stellar Door’s tight, proggy spacefunk to the dreamy ‘Ghost Dance’ with its attendant rapidly arpeggiating synth patterns.
The album closes with the droning interplay of ‘The Sleeper’, anchored in motion by a steady bass pulse and some of Bernard’s most affecting vocals. Like a lot of the tracks here, ‘The Sleeper’ is far from docile, coalescing via dexterous drumming toward a noisy, clangorous conclusion, marking Bliss / Blurred as a powerful, resonating body of work.
Bliss / Blurred is released by Flickering Lights on February 1st.
Words: Mat Smith
(c) 2019 Further.