TRAAMS’ first LP in seven years, ‘personal best’ represents a triumphant emergence from protracted hibernation. An album of teeth-grinding kosmische grit, tracing slumbrous, psychic ascension one overdrive-grumble at a time, the Chichester outfit herein transfigure a matured collection of understated anthems, dominated by oblique drum machines and soft-bellied motorik. Restricted by lockdown, they were only able to write at night at hushed volumes due to the confines of their rehearsal space - vocalist Stu Hopkins’ workplace. Epitomising this prevailing atmosphere is cornerstone ‘Breathe’: a nine-minute Krautrock transcendence including lyrics that could be used to summarise the group’s withdrawal and return: “We were crashing / But we’re working / Just refining / Our process.” Mixing things up with Joy Division-ed abrasions, (‘Dry’; ‘Shield’), or the muted intensity of ‘The Light at Night’ (featuring Protomartyr’s Joe Casey with a manic evangelical vocal), ‘personal best’ wades through its lamp-lit, murky side-alleys, sounding monumental, yet always keeping to the shadows. It’s one for the late night coach rides; for the wee, contemplative hours spent staring through black windows.
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