alternative fuzz pop grunge review shoegaze sludge pop

Terra Pines – Downbeats Review

Lethargic shoegazing anti-anthems for the weary and disenchanted.

What does Terra Pines sound like?

Lethargic shoegazing anti-anthems for jaded times.

The review of Terra Pines – Downbeats

Approaching your second album can be difficult but Terra Pines have smashed it with ‘Downbeats’. The entire album has a shoegazing fuzz pop misery to it. All the riffs are melancholic. The layered vocals are both subdued and weary, meshed together with the wall of guitar noise. ‘Downbeats’ isn’t just a mood, its a state of being for this album.

photo of Terra Pines
Terra Pines

There is a section on the track ‘Blood Moon’ that really sells Terra Pines’ writing and production for me. After some swaying yet depressing choruses and hooks, the track breaks down into a beautiful cascade of electric guitars and keys. It almost feels like the gloomy clouds and heaviness of the production are lifting. Then without completing the full four bars of the current bridge, the track’s lethargy and gloom smash in with a sucker punch. The riff you heard before feels slightly more laboured as if Terra Pines themselves are embodying this “oh for fuck sake” energy. It’s a mood the trio nail consistently across the whole album.

Terra Pines approach it in different ways though. ‘Harp On’ has a breezy and airy guitar and percussive style but the vocals and lyrics have a weary over it tone. Elsewhere the most visceral and fuzzed up ‘Pinos Altos’ switches angry choruses with dark and brooding verses. This explodes into a funky middle eight allowing that purge of all the eye-rolling FFS energy built up over the track. It feels so satisfying to listen to. Equally satisfying is opener ‘Sun Spells’ which embraces a grungy shoegaze mess anthem of wanting to do nothing at all. Elsewhere ‘Indoor Kid’ layers in some angry robotic industrial screams over a thrashing melody. ‘Cabarita’ is a nod to the Cure in terms of production. The title track is a lethargic sludge of grizzly guitars. Reminding me a little of Incestercide from Nirvana and the way a simple riff can end up sounding very bombastic and unhinged, this track takes a similar approach to a two-chord track.

Don’t mistake this lethargy and social disconnect for not caring though. Tracks like ‘Nightshade’ and ‘Wiseacre’ are full of more emotion than most other rock bands pull together in an album. The way they flick gears so quickly or play with reverb and audio smearing to create an energy-sapping sludge of rock is fantastic. When all the effects are off though, you get glimpses of the ferocity with which each instrument and vocal is being delivered. It’s that which marks Terra Pines out for me. It takes a delicate balance to juggle the sounding knackered whilst having the energy to engage your listeners. These songs on ‘Downbeats’ are like anti-anthems for early mornings, productivity and the daily grind. They give me strength when I listen to them. Terra Pines have nailed their second album and hopefully, there’s a long and fruitful career ahead for them.

Also, is post-grunge a thing? I feel like this would be it…

Recommended track: Blood Moon

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Terra Pines - Downbeats



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