Review: Ido+syncrasis by Troldhaugen

Usually, when my head fills up with bees, I blow a large bubble, using the gum I bought from Colonel Saunders in the Fried Chicken war of 82, and let them all out in one giant huffff. This often frees up at least half a day and gives me plenty of time to get on with painting the trees in my garden with a coffee stirrer and No.22 Dulux Original (which I find is the best beverage for a mediocre autumn evening). There’s one tree I ignore though, it gave me a shifty look the day I took my step ladder to the vets and I’ve not trusted it since.

Listening to the new release from Troldhaugen, Ido+syncrasis, has meant that my world view, which was as balanced as a large wig on an orange woman, has become somewhat skewed. This bunch of loonies hail from a funnily named place called Wollongong in Australia, which says a lot, I think. Formed in 2008 and comprised of four blokes called Meldengar, Reventusk, Gradenok and Svarog. Seriously. They are, somewhat ridiculously, categorised as a folk band/avantegarde folk/metal band. Huh.

Their music is delicious in a completely insane way – rather like enjoying your favourite home-made egg custard, smothered on the best wedge of rare fillet steak, served with two shots of whiskey and a plum wine. It’s hard to put them in a musical genre, but if you’re a fan of Mr Bungle, Native Construct or circuses, you’ll absolutely love this stuff.

Ido+syncrasis is the third full length album and, from the beginning, sets the tone. From their own blurb:

“Take a trip into the wild world of TROLDHAUGEN with IDIO+SYNCRASIES, the latest and whackest instalment from everybody’s favourite pieces of P**p. This crabtastic kickflip of an LP takes you to places no sea creature has been before. How does that guy have 3 arms? Can a chicken ACTUALLY make a good president? Was the mannequin real all along? All will be revealed in this jam packed train-wreck of tantalizing sound waves. Album art by Andrew Saltmarsh.”

The first track, called I Ordered A Taxi Driver Not A Taxidermy opens with a computer generated voice, before descending into a riot of ridiculous lyrics and complicated, but tight and wonderful, oft-changing timings and melodies. It’s just so layered that even after multiple listens, I’m finding new things to listen to. You’ll need to approach this band with an open mind and an appreciation, at least, for EDM.

iMambo Mambo! (Binko Banko) sounds a lot like something that would come from the brain of Mike Patton, except the effects and sweet hidden jems are turned up to the max. I don’t think I’ve heard a vocalist show such a range, or number of different singing styles than this nutjob – it’s fucking superb. Towards the end of the track, the music changes and puts me in mind of Rammestein, but the vocals are “Mambo, Mambo, Lady Are You Going To Be My Binko Banko, Let Me Give You A Spanko.” So, not really Rammestein (unless they all took more drugs in one go than David Bowie in his entire life).

BMX Terminator (which we played on show 77) is simply fucking fantastic, it’s a catchy tune and you’ll find yourself humming it as you drop sick scooter tricks at the local park, showing off to the teenagers in your flatcap and stillettos. It’s well worth checking out the official lyric video on YouTube to get the full depth of just how impressive this band are. Vocals are a mix of insane, whingey shouts, clean and death. With a bunch of stuff in between.

JAW DROP starts with a reggae intro (a bit like Benji) with keyboards on the off beat. The vocals here a bit insane clown posse crossed with Eminem, but don’t let that put you either – they’re not singing about magnets or moms spaghetti. Chugging guitars fill out the rest of the song until about halfway, but it doesn’t lose the reggae feel.

P3R5P3C+iV3_M4N, the closing track on the album, is super fucking creepy – imagine the wind, whistling across some ghostly plain, with a short, acoustic number played through a gramaphone, that lasts for about 60 seconds of the three minute ghost plain whistling, with one air horn about half way through. What the fuck are these guys on? I want some. It’s a blast.

This band is fun and exciting to listen to – their music is exceptionally well made and certainly not background music, you really have to pay attention, otherwise it’ll just sound like a noisy mess. But it’s absolutely worth your time. I’ve had it on repeat now for the best part of two days, I’ve got no work done, I smell like a lumberjacks arse-crack, am dehydrated and quite literally dying, but I cannot bring myself to remove my headphone and have to listen to the boring real world.

I earnestly implore you to buy this and all their other music from their bandcamp page.

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