Tera Melos - Tera Melos (Cover Artwork)

Tera Melos

Tera Melos (2005)

Sargent House

While browsing this site I came upon Tera Melos, a band who had been described as caP'n Jazz meets Black Flag with a near dangerous live show. My interest peaked; I decided to pick up their untitled debut from Springman Records. While their sound leans more towards the former, they more than overshadow many current punk bands in pure intensity. Most instrumental music by nature is at least a little experimental mostly due to necessity (few people want to listen to a 3-minute radio rock song with no vocals); Tera Melos take this to a higher degree delivering over an hour of dynamic indie punk. All this comes in 8 tracks, each simply dubbed melody ("Melody 1," "Melody 2," etc.) and almost half the length coming from a single track.

A distinctive element of Tera Melos' songwriting is their refusal to rely on repetition, instead using up-tempo, quickly shifting rock riffs. While some repetition is used, the group never allows their songs to stagnate. The group also employs intermittent electronic flourishes throughout the album, likening themselves to fellow instrumental group Pele. A minimalist approach is taken with certain songs such as "Melody 5" where the guitars and drums are dropped and an electronic/piano combination takes over for the last couple of minutes of the song.

Although long song lengths are almost expected with instrumental groups, Tera Melos try to change it up with "Melody 1" being just over a minute and "Melody 8" nearly 30. A personal standout for me lies in the middle, with "Melody 4," which combines the best elements of their songwriting with an infectious central riff creating a highly enjoyable track. The final track begins as a guitar/drum-driven punk song and eventually becomes a more ambient, electronic-based piece. Many parts of this track demand your attention but unfortunately I found myself zoning out and at other times bored.

With mentions of 'half-hour' and 'electronica-based songs,' I expect some might be turned off. I suggest that you try this anyway, as Tera Melo's debut may not provide for an entirely easy listen, but it is still an enjoyable one.