Thalassocracy – Shimensoka (Stream)
by Steven Spoerl
Today saw the release of three fuzzed out songs. Two were heavily indebted to shoegaze while the other was a wiry post-punk bruiser. In the case of the former, one of those songs marked one of the most interesting anomalies of Mogwai’s considerable career. “Teenage Exorcists” found the band sidling up to a sound that wasn’t too dissimilar from The History of Apple Pie. Bratty vocals, fuzzed-out riffs, swirling guitars, bright vocal melodies, and a killer middle eight all add up to one of the most intriguing sidesteps any major name’s made this year. Joining Mogwai in the ranks of great bands releasing strong shoegaze-leaning basement pop songs today was The Lees of Memory, a band that features at least one ex-Superdrag member. That 90’s influence pays huge dividends on the towering “Little Fallen Star“, a slow-burning six-minute cut from the band’s just released Sisyphus Says. In the territory that wasn’t overtly occupied by a punk-laden ambient sprawl Thalassocracy‘s “Shimensoka” bared teeth sharp enough to ensure that it’d get noticed.
“Shimensoka” is aggressively minimal without also blending in the increasingly trendy chaos a la Parquet Courts and Naomi Punk (not to mention an endless amount of others setting up camp with that formula). It’s Thalassocracy’s contribution to Art Is Hard’s increasingly on-point Pizza Club singles series. Opening with a few light touches of organs, that soft palette is quickly cut to shreds by a jackknife rhythm section and a threatening guitar line, which is fitting considering the song’s title (shimensoka is a Japanese word with a meaning that roughly translates to “facing extreme hostility; defeat is inevitable”). Populated by genuinely strange moments, it becomes an incredibly compelling look at what Thalassocracy is capable of achieving. They’ve already got an impressive pedigree, thanks to a lineup that boasts members of Grubs and Slothboat. Easily the darkest track of today’s trio of tunes- it’s also the most hypnotic, aptly showcasing the band’s penchant for quiet ferocity. “Shimensoka” is a remarkable step forward for a band that seems intent on making a run of things. Expect to be hearing more about them in the future.
Listen to (and download) “Shimensoka” below and sing up to be a member of The Pizza Club here.