“That’s it, right there,” I said to myself, “right when the bass line hits, 40-seconds in, the sound grabs you like a hungry beast looking for satisfaction. ” The crunching guitars and driving drums on “Swimming Pool,” the opening track on the FatCat debut of West Sussex trio TRAAMS, is a bodacious opener that lures you in, methodically, and strikes with Stu Hopkins (vocals/guitar) channeling Isaac Brock and Alex Kapranos, while his cohorts (Leigh Padley on bass and Adam Stock on drums), numb your senses into a bourgeoisie comfort zone; one they aim to smash with the punk-sounding “Flowers,” the third cut from Grin, which includes a music video (remember those MTV Generation relics?) showing the guys getting slimed like three hyper-realistic contestants on a Hunter S. Thompson themed episode of Nickelodeon’s Double Dare. Yowling like a purposely rougher sounding Modest Mouse, Stu Hopkins addresses the subject of “Flowers” with a touch of irreverence: “I don’t even know your number/ and you don’t even know my name.” It’s catchy, while at the same time, rough and driving like a ’70s punk opener to a Clash or Sex Pistols record.
TRAAMS bring together various elements of bands like Pavement, Modest Mouse, Wired, and Television, but really, they sound like that ’90s vibe finding its way to into scenes around Brooklyn, Boston, and Chicago; like Parquet Courts and Kal Marks, but the more Krautrock-tinged variety (less slacker, more alternative), a band you’d expect pinned to Rivers Cuomo’s wall in his garage, sometime in 1994, when shit didn’t all sound the same; when being indie was unique (something bands like Pavement were defined by). TRAAMS have that, in a distorted garage rock sound that cracks and snaps, while maintaining melodic indie-pop elements that should be a brilliant thing to see live in a sweat-drenched venue like the Echo, where I saw Parquet Courts shake the Bart Simpson shirts right off the pale-faced kids in the pit.