Needle Drop: Tryptamines, “Metropolis” EP

“Metropolis,” the reissued EP from Tryptamines is wonderfully weird. The Aberdeen-based experimental band doesn’t stick to any one musical style on the record, instead veering between Caribou and Beck-influenced dream-pop and the true experimentalism of CAN and Captain Beefheart.

You’d think a wild range of styles might struggle to coalesce, and I suppose there is a bit of truth to it—between one track and another you could be listening to two different sounding bands. While this might make it difficult to draw an audience to their sound, the EP taken at face value is four rather well accomplished pieces of music.

The opening title track is true dream pop. Dancing keys skip over a lively drum beat, while the vocals—very reminiscent of a In Rainbows-era Tom Yorke—bleed into each other as they’re delivered in almost a constant stream. The increasing tension this creates is broken by a chorus which feels distinctly like coming up for air and has a mildly euphoric feeling as a result.

My other favourite is the serene “Why Are There People Like Frank?” which washes over you like warm, calm waves on a beach. The sampled voices at the opening are slowly enveloped by creeping instrumentation, with ethereal sweep noises flowing back and forth sounding as if you’re hearing them underwater. A harmonium takes over the lead, slowly plodding through its chord sequence while haunting vocals play call and response underneath. For the final minutes of the track the music becomes more intense and fully surrounding you. Beautiful.

It’s become apparent to me that the recurring theme here is one of water, waves, flow, etc. I think this might be the best way of summing up Tryptamines’ “Metropolis” as a whole and as how their work ties together despite its huge diversity. Still, because of its nature, it’s tough to say that if you like Band A then you might like this—so the only thing I’m going to do is encourage you to go give it a chance. If it’s not your cup of tea, then fair enough. But if it is, you will find yourself hugely rewarded.

“Metropolis” is out now via Fitlike Records.

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