Called simply D, the new album from the Torelló, Spain-based group Tröpical Ice Land packs a musical perspective on pain that demands a pause for contemplation on the beauty that can exist right alongside turmoil. Mostly, the band perform a gently flowing post-rock or post-hardcore that feels like a wisp of wind snaking through the air and across your face on a gently weathered summer day. Sometimes though — like on the definite standout track “Teresa” towards the middle of the record — the band amplify their sound into the musical equivalent of an intensely roaring thunderstorm with blistering intensity. Never for a moment though do they truly seem to lose sight of the gently circulating guitar melodies that underlie the whole creation — and the smooth juxtaposition makes for a pretty stunning musical experience.
There’s a definite emotional underpinning to the whole project, too. D doesn’t just feel interesting from a technical standpoint along the lines of “Ah, post-rock can run alongside blistering hardcore; that’s interesting.” Rather, thanks to the passion that feels inherent in the band’s definitely not by-the-book performances, this music easily becomes a fittingly emotionally demanding experience. As the band progress from their substantively gentle opening into gradually more unease and chaos and back into gentle outro passages, the musical storytelling’s precision opens a spot for listeners to really want to find out what comes next. There are real rewards — besides the blistering fury of some points, there’s even some groove beyond the previous snaking guitar melodies that comes in towards the latter half of this record.
You’re taken along for a ride through this gradual, carefully constructed meltdown once hitting play. There’s a definite thrill inherent in the ride that Tröpical Ice Land have provided here, but it’s more subtle than might be found elsewhere. Thanks to how wonderfully dynamic the band are while still maintaining loads of intensity, the responsibility really rests at least in part with the listener to unpack the thrill found here — it’s not an in-your-face type thing. In shifting the responsibility that way through this awesome feat of musical storytelling, the band have made their music’s side-by-side perspective of pain and beauty bleed into “real life” really powerfully.
D is available via Spain’s Krimskramz, Germany’s Dingleberry Records, and Canada’s Zegema Beach Records.