Troller - Troller [Handmade Birds - 2013]Troller are a rather mysterious Houston Texas based project, who create a dark and reverb heavy brew of: 80’s bleak synth pop, dreary dark wave, slurred Goth music, doomed bass reverberations, shoe gaze, and retro dark ambient dwells. This self titled release is their first( and seemingly only) release-original it appeared in late 2011 in a cassette only form on Los Angeles based tape label Living Tapes, and has gone on to be reissued in Mp3, vinyl & finally CD form…I’m reviewing the most recent release, which is the 2013 CD release on Handmade Birds.
This most recent version of the album comes in a simple card slip case that features very retro focused colour artwork. On the front cover there’s a picture of a women leaning on a axe wearing a bikers leather jacket- this looks like it was taken in either the 70’s or early 80’s. On the back cover we get a picture of a spider under a basic looking glass, and once again this looks like it’s from the 70’s or 80’s. Underneath the spider picture we get track listings(though four of the tracks, just have “_” as their titles). And a list of the bands four members( through there’s no indication of there roles on the album), and they are: Amber Ormand, Adam Jones, & Rosemary French.
In all the album takes in ten tracks, and I must say it’s one of my most recent & unexpected sonic surprises I’ve come across. Sure there are a lot(and I mean a lot) of projects doing the whole retro 80’s synth things (pop, goth or otherwise ) at the moment. And if I’d been told this was another project that fitted into that niche, I’ll admit I might not have even bothered playing this release. But thankfully I came to this blind, as it was sent into M[m] with a batch of other titles from the nice folks at Handmade Birds…and it’s cover artwork alone was the thing that sucked me in.
So what is it, that makes this so special & rewarding?....well it’s the way the albums tracks nicely shift between atmospheric ‘n’ creepy, to more tuneful & yet slurred pop song like. Going from the opening track “Milk” which mixers together wavering doomed bass guitar lines, swirling gothic electronics/ effects, slowed ‘n’ twitching electro beats, and distant female vocals. Through to morbidly jaunting & tuneful goth synth pop swoon of “Winter”, which brings together slowly darting memorable synth lines, Goth bass lines, swirling female vocals & electro heart beat drums. On the whole pretty much each of the ten tracks here are rewarding & worthy in their own right, with the album nicely shifting between more creepy & retro pop fare.Roger Batty
On the whole this is most rewarding debut, and I look forward to hearing what project does next. So if you enjoy retro focused fare that flits between both dread ‘n’ tune-full-ness Troller is well worth a look!