‘Subliminally encouraging you to consume every last unsettling mouthful, there’s more musical bite than ever before.’
Re-intro to THYLA
As those of you who are regulars to Listen to Discover
will know that this isn’t the first, or indeed the second
time that I have featured THYLA. Nor is it likely to be the last. So why do I keep featuring them? The simple answer is that their insane sound demolishes the relentless musical cycles we have become used to. However, while their previous successful releases (Pristine Dream, Ferris Wheels and Tell Each Other Lies) have brought power and intrigue in equal measure, their latest release demonstrates that they may well have more bite than the industry is ready to swallow.
As an introduction, the opening of ‘I Was Biting’ is certainly not one for the faint-hearted. It’s power-filled. It’s distortion-filled. But most of all, it’s undeniably THYLA-filled. In all the artist’s I’ve reviewed to date, there isn’t really any other new band which manages to perfectly balance creativity and dramatic musicality, while remaining so accessible. Agreed it’s a tall order to deliver this once, let alone every time, but within seconds you know this track is going showcase exactly what THYLA do best.
Bringing an early musical shift, the heaviness of the opening reduces making way for a lighter atmosphere. Softer in nature, the restrained, gently forceful tone of Millie’s vocal states the lyrics of ‘I was biting the inside of my mouth.’ Set to a mostly static pitch and working cross-rhythmically with an initial accompaniment of dominant drums and bass guitar, it’s a sublime demonstration of THYLA’s immense musicality. Equally, the use of mixed harmonisation, via combined male and female vocals, pushes this up another notch.
However, while this shift in style demonstrates accomplished song-writing, it also highlights one of THYLA’s biggest strengths: A lack of fear to take musical risks. This risk, like many others in their tracks, is one that most definitely pays off. Becoming increasingly creepy sounding, the second half of the verse sees melodic chromaticism combine with wonderfully contrasting guitar lines. The result? A completely transformed sound. But the earlier power is soon to return.
Ironically, just as the unsettled atmosphere begins to feel settled, the first occurrence of the chorus shoots the track back to its incredibly forceful, highly musical foundations. Built on an accompaniment of heavily distorted guitar chords and crashing drums, it’s the perfect contrast to Millie’s, more melodic sounding main vocal. However, while it may be more in the form of a ‘traditional melody,’ the use of unpredictable rhythms and selective uses of vocal harmony means we are never at risk of switching off.
Ensuring that this remains the case for the remainder of the track, the second verse creates an even more eerie atmosphere than the first. Bringing contrast through a reduction in harmony, Millie’s vocal this time is initially completely un-harmonised. Set in this way, it’s not only immensely enticing, but as it becomes accompanied by multi-layered guitar lines, and choice lyrics such as ‘it’s creeping under my door,’ come to the fore, you feel increasingly unsettled. However, all this atmosphere does is subliminally encourage you to become consumed by the sound and digest every last musical mouthful.