REVIEW: Tora! Tora! Torrance!: Get Into It
Tora! Tora! Torrance!: Get Into It [The Militia Group, 2001] (mp3s)
Three words? updated Sex Pistols
It's hard not to be deeply cynical about Get Into It. I mean, the accompanying press release compares the band to the Hives and the Vines. Fair enough, you may say -- after all, it's pretty standard for bands to compare themselves to what's popular. But this album was released in 2001, before the "new garage" hype had even really started: In light of the growing mainstream success of The Strokes, The White Stripes, et al, it seems that Tora! Tora! Torrance! are being given a new push.
The press release would also be much more convincing if Tora! Tora! Torrance! actually bore any sonic resemblance to the "The" bands. They're certainly nowhere near as tuneful as the Strokes, nor is their music infused with the "I'm the next coming of Kurt Cobain" spirit that the Vines boast. Admittedly, they have a slight musical kinship with The Hives, but all that means is that there's a heavy punk influence.
Very, very heavy -- in fact, my brother came into my room while I was listening to Get Over It, and thought I had stolen his copy of Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols. Lead singer Nick Koenigs sounds eerily like John Lydon; it's hard to listen to "Shot Down In America" and not start expecting to hear him sing "I am an anti-Christ / I am an anarchist". Nearly ever line on the album is spat out, so full of anger and disgust you can practically hear the sneer over your speakers. The exception to this is (the thankfully brief) "Oh Frankie, We Are All Architects", where the sneer is modified into a strange, half-sneer half-croon.
And, of course, it helps that it's supported by the music. Save for "Upstairs Bedroom At A Party", which is oddly subdued and completely out of step with the rest of the album, this is all about buzzsaw guitars and pounded drums. Coupled with Koenigs' voice, it all sounds like the aural equivalent of being punched in the stomach repeatedly, then getting kicked a few more times once you're down.
Whether or not that's your cup of tea probably depends on the mood you're in, and how much you enjoy being punched in the stomach. As listening experiences go, it's an acquired taste, but also a richly rewarding one. It's just a shame, however, that Tora! Tora! Torrance!'s label didn't see fit to push the album on its own merits. Get Over It is clearly good enough to stand on its own, independent of current musical trends.