Have Tera Melos gone pop? Well, no....but yes. Much like the band's intricate and complex song structures, it's not quite that simple. Tera Melos' songs have traditionally been densely packed with so many wild shifts of time signature and chord structures that guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Nick Reinhart jokes they were sounds that, "only wizards could decipher."
Patagonian Rats is packed with melodic hooks and jabs that on paper might seem to defy the band's experimental edge. There's even clear and distinct vocals throughout -- a first for the band, where vocals, if any, were previously awash with distortion and layered in the mix. But, particulars aside, Patagonian Rats is the type of album that sticks with you.
Occasionally, "pop" music has really meant daring music. Like the Beach Boys in the late 60s, The Clash in the 70s, Devo in the 80s, Flaming Lips in the 90s -- the greatest artists have dared to make music that is hooky while also being groundbreaking. Patagonian Rats evokes images of bizarre and fantastic alternate realities. Think about the first time you heard "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys; jarring collisions of a cappella harmonies, tremolo-washed bass and chirping theremin. The key is not to understand it, but to let the music transform everyday reality into something new. And, that is the essence of Patagonian Rats.
Tera Melos formed in 2004 as a quartet, releasing their first self-titled disc in 2005 (later re-released by Sargent House in 2008). The band became a trio in late 2006, releasing the all-instrumental Drugs to the Dear Youth EP early the following year. A split disc with By The End of Tonight (2007) on Temporary Residence and an EP of cover songs, Idioms, Vol 1 followed in 2009. In the meantime, Reinhart collaborated with prolific drummer Zach Hill under the band name bygones, releasing the by- album in 2009 and Spiritual Bankruptcy EP in 2010, both on Sargent House. Clardy has also recently spent downtime as the touring drummer with guitar goddess Marnie Stern.
Patagonian Rats will be available everywhere via Sargent House on September 7th, 2010.