Dwellers on the Treshold

Kitty-Yo / Mute

Tarwater is the German duo of Bernd Jestram and To Rococo Rot’s Ronald Lippok, and this is their fifth release yet, and another excursion into electronica-based post rock that still ultimately fails to generate too much excitement. Tarwater have always been an interesting prospect on paper, a combination of light electronica in a pop setting, droning backgrounds beneath trippy melodies. Their eclecticism and playfulness always promised much but, as this album proves, they still fail to actually succeed — much due to the static nature of the songs.

There are several potentially fine moments one here, but they somehow never truly catch fire or are allowed enough time or movement to come across as fully realized. Instead, we have an album where several of the songs give off the impression of merely unfinished sketches, recorded ideas rather than fully formed tracks. For all the album’s diversity, there are not too much substantial actually taking place on here, with most songs seemingly built on one single idea that’s being held back and refused to develop and change.

And so we get a series of fragments and snippets of sound, imagined backdrops to some movie, but not particularly interesting without any visual aid. Some tracks on here are definite high points — “Be Late” offers a slab of charming electro-pop, and “Now” has some nice post-trip hop/kraut things going on. But ultimately, this is another disappointing release from a band that one suspects has the potential to come up with something truly great.

Mute Records: http://www.mute.com

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