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Troth Forget The Curse

Mammas Mysteriska Jukebox
10th February 2023

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Format Info

LP - black vinyl

Somewhere in rural, mist-flecked New South Wales coast a small scene of outsiders are making quietly astounding music, a kind of rural, materialist psychedelia that tentatively seaps out of them. In truth, the landscape and climate of Eastern Australia is probably not misty, but the music of one of its obscure, mercurial weirdos Troth insinuates a creeping shroud wafting over dank lagoons. Forget The Curse is Troth’s first album for Gothenburg’s Mammas Mysteriska Jukebox and fulfils the promise of their 2022 LP and 7” releases.

Troth – Amelia Besseny and Cooper Bowman – propose a 21st Century music that draws on the 80s underground tape experimentations of Europe, the space and openness 70s Kosmiche practised by Cosmic Jokers, Ash Ra Temple, New Age/Ambient tonalities flipped on their side, subtle, warm dub bass and rhythms and, in Besseny’s plaintive vocal sailing above the stew a aurally soothing instrument cutting through. Even groups like Hydroplane, Movietone are good touchstones; it’s fragile music stitched together with a calmness and propensity to probe. I first encountered them with their Oak Corridor LP and then caught them in Glasogw supporting Laila Sakini and was completely bewitched. While the group’s influences are often easily recognisable their approach to sound has a dichotomous naturalness and naivety which makes it all feel more real.
It’s a misty production in that there are fields of space in music with each element allowed to stretch out and find its own way. You’re never quite sure if the group are striving for something, missing and ending up somewhere unique or have everything completely down and planned. It doesn’t matter though. Check gorgeously wrong track Flora, with Besseny’s vocal rising up in sun salute to be tickled by the crosswinds of the barely dulcet de-tuned strings. It’s a loping ballad that could have been emitted by Cold Storage in 1983, resolutely spacious and affecting. On follow up track Nettles Silver Lining, Cooper Bowman takes the mic for an obfuscated, echo-laden intonation over No Wave guitars tweaked to sweetness and barely there percussion.
Album stand out and title track Forget The Curse for sure takes a piano sample from somewhere, manipulating it into a deep foray into the melting, hot night, all warmed and leaking emotions all over the song. Completely hypnotic, hypnagogic even, the duo call and response over the degrading sample. It’s deeply cosmic, evoking a slow drift in an engine-less car down a gentle hill in the boiling nocturne, doomed piano chords and tinkles deeply meditative and pulsing. On Valley Of Palms the group come close to Synth pop, sounding not unlike fellow Oz Karen Marks (of Cold Cafe fame) if Adrian Sherwood and This Heat/Flaming Tunes’ Gareth Williams chanced into the studio and suggested a couple of tweaks. Iben reprises the saxophones hinted at on the title track for an unabashed beauty of a track, bell-like instruments looping under Besseny and the reeds.
I’ve been waiting for the LP since catching Troth last year in Glasgow and Forget The Curse doesn’t disappoint. Beautifully off-kilter, a timeless music caught between worlds, DIY experimentation and florid, Cosmic touches, jazz-inflections, 4th World music for another world. If you’re into this stuff check out fellow Newcastle, NSW group Th Blisks (which is actually Bowman and Besseny with another musician) who take Troth’s template and fling it into the realm of post-punk. That groups like Troth are burrowing away into the imagined mist on a hot corner of the world, making this searching music that never settles, gently probing and questioning gives me a degree of succour. There must be weirdo scenes like this everywhere and we’re happy to have discovered this one.

Other Releases by Troth