Jolly New Songs


LP version. Nothing hurts harder than a surprise ending, and the title track of this album has a real face-slap of one. One minute you're in bliss, carried away in a crescendo of spine-tingling post-rock guitars and soft, wordless "oohs", the next you're through -- the song's out the door, down the street, pulling away from the curb and into a new life. That the overall tone of Jolly New Songs is so anthemic and -- for Trupa Trupa -- uncharacteristically triumphant, only makes having the rug pulled out from under you like this seem so much more cruel, so much more funny. Perhaps the harder the fall is, the more you have to laugh. Gdansk-based post-punk-psych band Trupa Trupa are sodden in a particularly cryptic kind of gallows humor. This isn't just down to some glitch in translation -- it could be in part due to the band's art-rock origins and because their singer and guitarist, Grzegorz Kwiatkowski is an award-winning poet in Poland. And then there's the fact that the band's name roughly translates to "Corpse Corpse". This is The Beatles in a universe where their most famous song was "Tomorrow Never Knows"; a Pink Floyd that split when Syd Barrett's mind did. There is no "Wonderwall" here. Instead there's "Coffin", a uniquely morbid love song that comes in the form of a seriously ear-wormy pop ditty. You can dance to this album -- check out the to-die-for funk groove that propels the Can-like "Falling". You can trip out to it -- check out the psychedelic meltdown that mutates the Wurlitzer fairground music of "Only Good Weather" into something dark and psyche-scarring. Sometimes it sounds like the end of the world (the bleak roar of "Mist"), but sometimes it sounds like the start of a new one (the unashamedly gorgeous "To Me"). The Quietus declared Trupa Trupa's acclaimed 2015 album, Headache (IDA 125CD/LP, XRAY 017CD), to be "their first moment of true greatness. This is incredible work," and suggested that these musicians were on the cusp of a Dog Man Star (1994) or Daydream Nation (1988) -- something genuinely era-defining. Jolly New Songs is that album and it does not disappoint.