Tussle will shake you from your solar plexus.
Zoe Howe 2007
Not often enough are drums pushed to the fore, but San Fran beatmasters Tussle are changing that. One thing’s certain on this their first “proper” album - they certainly know how to hit things.
One of the underground’s most experimental rhythm bands, simultaneously retro and futuristic, they are blending drums, percussion and bass with a sprinkling of synths to create disco fever, Krautrock style.
Opening track, ''Lyre'', kicks off with a spacey sequence of sounds, grounded by looming tribal drums, preceding the epic (well, seven minute) Warning - funky, glossy drums reminiscent of Can, peppered with handclaps, and growing in depth. ''Second Guessing'' boasts earthy bass laced with chiming claves, weaving rhythms Steve Reich would be proud of around minimal melodies.
''Cloud Melodie''’s irregularity and fuzzy backward synths grates a little, but its sequel ''Cloud Melodie II'' makes up for it in its ethereal softness, like an android lullaby.
''The Story of Meteorites'' is just under a minute of appropriately percussive chaos, but things get special with ''Flicker/33.3''. This is where Tussle are strongest and most accessible, with funky, beat-led grooves and creative drumming spiked with Art of Noise electronics. ''Invisible City'' takes you elsewhere momentarily - a short, sweet, spacey samba, contrasting perfectly with the dark, sexy ''Trappings''.
Tussle bagged Dennis Young from NICK rhythm group Liquid Liquid for final track ''Pow!'', and never has so much clanging sounded so melodic. Again, a minimal ‘vocal’ is provided on glockenspiel, but the heart and the soul of this music is the drums - this time making thunderous use of the toms, a la Bow Wow Wow.
Tussle will shake you from your solar plexus. You’ll have your hands in the air like you just don’t care in no time.