My first introduction to the music of Terry Malts stemmed from my love of the members’ former band, The Magic Bullets. Unfortunately, the group was unable to find a full-time drummer, so opted to regroup as Terry Malts. A few 7 inched piqued my interest, but when Killing Time arrived in my inbox, I had no idea just how much longevity this record would have. From start to finish, it’s a polished bit of scuzzy guitars, pop hooks, pounding drums and hooks galore. So far, it’s the best record I’ve gotten my hands on this year.
“Something About You” lets the album explode from the get-go, offering listeners a bit of their traditional gaze-pop in the realm of Pains of Being Pure at Heart, only on speed (not that we condone drug usage). The drums clatter, the guitars have a ferocious tenacity that propels the song for the entirety of just over two minutes. But, that’s about the last you’ll hear of your typical fare, as the group has more of a raucous punk sound, albeit one infused with elements of power-pop and post-punk atmospherics.
The most brilliant things about Killing Time is it’s ability to never grow stale sonically, whilst still holding onto album cohesiveness. “Tumble Down” has that affected guitar sound echoing in the background, but it’s the monosyllabic vocals touches that provide the song’s main hook. This is the music you wish you had with you during those times when you need to display sheer exuberance. If you’re not bouncing around, you’re not listening closely. You can group this song with “Waiting Room,” another song that really relies upon the stellar drumming to really give you a good kick in the ass. Corey Cunningham’s vocals have a deep quality, yet he’s got these tiny little changes in pitch that really add an extra element to every single track.
Terry Malts aren’t just sold on giving you one sound for the whole of the Killing Time; “I’m Neurotic” is one such testament. For one, it’s the longest track here, but the band’s content to really let the guitars do the work, as they ring in and out of the foreground, battling Cunningham for control of the song. Then, as a testament that the group’s got a definite affinity for classic punk rock, you find “No Good For You.” Remember when the Ramones would bang out a nice power ballad, just to mix it up? Well, that encompasses everything great about this song; it’s not just mimicry, however, as there’s definitely a different bit of brashness in the way the group handles themselves–but you’ll definitely notice the homage around the 2 minute mark.
For me, this is perhaps the perfect culmination of everything about my favorite records. Killing Time definitely has everything modern in its sound, but it harkens back to a purity in the annals of rock n’ roll, tossing out punishing drums lines, excellent hooks and enough creativity that every song sounds fresh. At just under 35 minutes, you’re going to have a hard time finding an album that begs to be played time and time again without every growing old. Who loves the Terry Malts? “I do I do I do I do I do I do.”
Download:Terry Malts – Tumble Down [MP3]