Words: Elvis Thirlwell | Photo: Rafał Wojczal
Recording an album during the deep horrors of Sars-Cov-2, just as your long awaited tour of the U.S of A has been forcibly cancelled, would be a cause for psychological unrest, wouldn’t it? This context considered, it’s easy to comprehend the gritty viscerality haunting the 6th full-length from protean quartet Trupa Trupa, a record as capricious and equivocal as the human mind itself. And if this is your first encounter with Trupa Trupa (indeed, this was mine), then know them simply as Gdansk’s ultimate answer to post-goth-rock-punk-60s-neo-psych-prog!
According to the band themselves, ‘B Flat A’ can be read as a “study of disintegration and decomposition.” Indeed, the stewing barbarity preluding the LP concords with this cheery analysis. The post-punk pummel of ‘Moving’, the despairing ramalama of ‘Kwietnick’, and the aggravated space-punk of ‘Twitch’, when taken as a triptych, could soundtrack to some Harry Hausen stop-motion: undeads burrowing out the earth, bony fingers grabbing fleshy human ankles; and there’s also blood and panic everywhere.
Then it gets interesting. The outstanding quality of Trupa Trupa, notwithstanding their mastery of heavy psychedelic immersion, is the obvious and organic freedom with which they create. Untethered, and imprecise, it’s as if they liberally tossed their abounding creative aura out into the open, and let the earth’s natural motions and weather patterns formulate it for themselves. Like any erratic chemical high, ‘B Flat A’ constantly sidesteps expectation. The Triptides-ian neo-psych of ‘Lines’ stumbles in, Syd Barrett-esque in it’s sense of not-quite-rightness. Then come unprovenanced nods to a Beatles-y melodic crispiness- ‘Uniform’, with a refrain to end all refrains, or the euphoric but paranoid ‘Far Away’ . These are tracks which revel in such overwhelming positivity that one can only conclude that something must be wrong.
Go deeper, and discover (post-barrett) Pink Floyd voyages, mingled with the bleakness of a deathcrash, or the ultimate pandaemonium of ‘Uselessness’, where all of Trupa Trupa angels and devils collide like one progressive and bodacious post-punk dynamite, before freaking into a nuclear-grade ‘fuck you’ brain melt.
It’s an intense and compelling trip. And like any good trip, there’s the withering comedown. The penultimate – ‘Sick’, with it’s aching lyric – “I don’t know how to tell you that you’re sick’ – is depressed and pestilent; like when the hurricane has cleared and you’re left merely with splattered scraps of buildings and sundered families. Finally, as the titular closing track clangs a lonesome guitar in the fog, we haves an aptly sordid finish to this album of triumphant struggles and creative heights.