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Ttotals - Let Everything Come Through (2014) review

Ttotals "Let Everything Come Through" (Twin Lakes Records, 2014)

Ttotals (Interview here) have been around since 2009 releasing a cassette, CD, 10” and 12” since then, but Let Everything Come Through is their first full-length album to arriving after a lengthy five year wait.  Released in late 2014 by Twin Lakes Records, home to Myty Konkeror and the folks behind Ttotals’ Spectrums Of Light 7-inch as well, Let Everything Come Through is an absolute trip in the outer stratosphere of consciousness.  A dosed out lysergic drone shimmers and glows on the intro to “Take Care Of Me”, the growing horizon of sound rolling in like thunder clouds on the Kansas skyline, lighting up the landscape in sporadic bursts of energy and power as the drums fade in along with the guitar.  The vocals on “Take Care Of Me” rumble and pop inside the calm landscape before receding suddenly into the darkness from whence they came, giving way to yet another drone fading into “My Eyes Are Open”.  The cool calm wash of sounds envelope the listener, crooning vocals soaring above the muted guitars and distant dissonant keys.  The build is so steady and gradual that you don’t even notice it until things go completely haywire about halfway into the song; the guitars erupting in fuzzy spasms of insanity, drums becoming a relentless pummeling hammer of noise, before peeling back the distortion and revealing a tightly wound center-piece to “My Eyes Are Open”, an intense complex arrangement reflecting Marty’s belief he’s less of a writer and “more of a composer”.  “Life Thus Far-Out” sounds much more like the Ttotals that I remember being introduced to back in late 2013 with the Spectrums Of Light single, before I had started to devour more of their back catalog.  It perfectly encapsulates what Ttotals refer to as the “Outer Blues”, dissonant, melodic, compelling arranged, insanely catchy “My Eyes Are Open” moves into “Tricks Of The Trade” the fourth track on Let Everything Come Through.  The menacing looped distortion lurking just in the back of “Tricks Of Trade” lends a great deal to making the song sound as ominous and imposing as it does and there’s a foreboding Jesus And Mary Chain darkness to “Tricks Of The Trade” that I just can’t get enough of.  “Tricks Of The Trade” might be my favorite song on Let Everything Come Through, the sheer massive force of it is undeniable and probably best illustrates why I ravenously follow what these guys are up to!  It sounds like the absolutely best recordings from the 80s that no one was listening to or talking about at the time, except that it encompasses Ttotals’ unique and interesting take on songwriting and construction that bends and breaks the rules of everything that’s come before them, to create something completely their own and yet reflective of so many things.  “On The First Time” draws the energy back just slightly, the jaded vicious fist of fuzz and distortion lurking underneath the surface of what appears to be some sort of heavily redacted document for the most part, only tearing through the veil and lashing out at the listener without warning from time to time.  There’s an almost surrealistic otherworldly feeling to Ttotals’ music that’s like transporting yourself off to another dimension, a distorted warped fun-house mirror of a world where things take on altered and twisted meanings and seemingly small trivial things can suddenly sweep you away in a tsunami of noise or distortion.  There’s a sense of timelessness to “On The First Time” that I don’t hear often and while I mostly listen to full albums, I must admit to putting on both “Tricks Of The Trade” and “On The First Time” in the car all the time; they’re two of the best tracks of 2014, no doubt.  “Hearts Always Start Up” is as about as dead ahead of a rock tune as your likely to get out of Ttotals and there’s no stopping your toes from tapping, your head from bopping or your mind from drifting off into ethereal cosmic nods once it kicks in.  If there was a song that just begged for a single release on Let Everything Come Through for me it would be “Hearts Always Start Up”.  The chanting break down at three minutes in is just classis shit!  You don’t hear bands pulling stuff like this off anymore.  “Let The Light In” begins with a shuddering electronic drone, joined by a soft guitar in oscillating pulses that glide from left to right with ease in the mix.  An understated vocal melody joins with the deceptively simple drum line, melding, separating, muting and harmonizing at will throughout “Let The Light In”.  The almost middle-eastern sound to the song is absolutely mesmerizing and again sheds light on the compositional side of Ttotals, an aspect that’s sadly lacking in many bands right now.  The small choir of voices that join in the chant bleed almost as well as the guitar line does, directly into “Sometimes You Just Are”.  All through out Let Everything Come Through, despite all the psychedelic tendencies and deceptive complexities you can hear a stead thread of Nirvana-like sounds going on with the vocals.  No song on the album makes this more apparent than “Sometimes You Just Are”.  If it weren’t for the lead guitar lines on the song, which for the record I absolutely freaking love, this could sound like an outtake from one of Cobain’s home recording sessions or a pre-In Utero demo.  “Opposite Rabbits” is another track that’s sure to embed itself in your mind within a single listen, a rare feat in these days of over saturation and stimulation.  Ttotals are capable of presenting an astounding array of varied sounds and types of songs, but they seem to fall into a few different very broad and general types of songs.  “Opposite Rabbits” is much like “Tricks Of The Trade” or “On The First Time”, in that it sounds much like a dark wave 80s Jesus And Mary Chain song infused with an apocalyptic sinister psychedelic edge; Outer Blues indeed!  I’m also picking up heavy Brian Jonestown Massacre vibes here, that killer, dark, sprawling 60s/70s proto-shoegaze psychedelia so few people have ever been able to pull off.  “Opposite Rabbits” has engineered peaks and valleys of sorts, these really cool engineered starts and stops, breaks and accelerations, to keep things interesting as you move into the last track “String Of Life”.  With the sporadic and explosive energy that comes and goes without apparent warning, assaulting and caressing the listeners’ senses and guiding them through Let Everything Come Through “String Of Life” is an apt way to end the album, in that it really just leaves you wanting more.  Jerking and stuttering to life and then shrinking and decaying into undead whispers of feedback it’s one of the best things that Ttotals have ever recorded, and considering I think that just about everything these guys do is impressive as hell, that’s saying something.  It’s been a long wait for their debut album, five years and some change to be more exact, but Ttotals make it apparent from the moment that Let Everything Come Through starts to the minute that it finishes, just why it’s been this long – and it’s well worth the wait boys and girls, trust me!  I know that Twin Lakes stuff is usually pretty limited, and while I haven’t seen any exact numbers on Let Everything Come Through don’t sleep on this end of the year album that will inevitably be making many appearances on those ever popular “Top 25” lists for 2014 before too long.

Review made by Roman Rathert/2015
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