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Album Review

by New Tropic

Rangi Recordings

Review Date
19th May 2010
Reviewed by
Brannavan Gnanalingam

Transplanted Wellingtonian New Tropic (his pseudonym is shortened from Newman Tropic) is clearly finding East Berlin a dark and mysterious place. A former well-regarded punk and hardcore drummer back in New Zealand, New Tropic’s debut EP Loiter instead revels in darker, more brooding compositions than his background would suggest. It seems built from urban paranoia, mould growing in East Berlin squats, flickering street lights, dark corners that populate any cityscape – essentially it’s evocative enough to conjure up all sorts of imagery (though for most it’d be darker imagery).

His conception of urban angst has more than a touch of iconic Kiwi label Xpressway’s output, but also touches on Japanoise and post-industrial sounds. The EP is full of churning, jagged guitars and strangled vocals – however the EP’s strength stems from the rigour with which the compositions are constructed (the editing is particularly good, and he builds up tension and moods expertly). If anything, New Tropic could have taken more risks in his sound – he could have cut loose even more when it came to crescendos and contrasted textures even more.

The EP’s highlights include the jagged noise and rhythms of ‘Breaks Calamity’, the half melodies of ‘Vocalize’, and the album’s concluding ‘Moe’ which explodes into what is the closest thing to a pop song New Tropic would let himself make. Loiter suggests that if New Tropic is able to replicate the same rigour and mood in a future full-length, he’s got some great music ahead of him.

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