Tic Toc Tokyo
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Tic Toc Tokyo

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Mar
20
Tic Toc Tokyo @ The Curtin Bandroom

Carlton, Victoria, Australia

Carlton, Victoria, Australia

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Since the release of their Artefacts EP, earlier this year, the indie blogs that have been buzzing about Tic Toc Tokyo, hailing the four-piece as the new kings of post-punk. But the superlative hype offered by befringed hipsters isn’t always all that reliable. That massively overused adjective ‘post-punk’ is all to likely to conjure nightmarish images of said hipsters mordantly strumming away – yes, Yves Klein Blue I’m looking at you.

Support act, Plug-In City were great, creating a dense atmospheric sound using pre-recorded synths and heavily treated guitars. Their hazy cover of Reckless was especially captivating. Apparently they’ve just signed for Modular, so watch this space.

The night had gone quickly and it was twenty to twelve when TTT finally came on, to the delight of the slightly tipsy crowd, many of whom were lovingly clutching copies of the new single, Ritual. There was a tangible sense of anticipation mixing with the smell of stale beer, and I for one was desperate to hear them. With a minimum of fuss they began.

On the surface they share similarities with hoards of other post/punk/indie/edgy blah blah blah bands. There’s the singer who sounds like Ian Curtis. There’s the choppy minor chords and the churning bass lines. Even their name has been done to death – why does every second band seem to have Tokyo in their name?

Even so, when it works, it really works. Ritual is the obvious single and is a killer track. It struts off with a punchy riff from guitarist Marty Umanski (a dead ringer for Albert Hammond Jnr.) and some raw vocals from singer Simon Gibbs, building up to a brooding breakdown involving shout and reply vocals, pounding percussion and a melodica. It’s quite haunting but it never strays into maudlin territory, unlike a lot of other music in this genre. It’s very danceable too. It was great to see skinny jeaned legs were flying everywhere on one of the most lively ten dollar gig dance floors that I’ve ever seen.

Ritual is good but Ladies in Vogue is better. It’s a Cramps-esque belter of a song that showcases the unexpected element of Tic Toc Tokyo’s music. With absolutely no warning, Gibbs and drummer Nic Oogjes swapped. The drummer becomes the singer and the singer becomes the drummer. Bet you haven’t seen that before.

But it’s TTT’s rhythm section that really stands out. All the members get involved, maniacally banging away on a bass drum and congas that sit on stage as well as the normal drum kit. The result is a polyrhythmic tribal shot of adrenalin which gets the blood racing and the feet tapping.

In fact TTT’s energy, in particular that of Gibbs (who has the makings of a great front man), was fantastic throughout. To quibble, they could use a couple more songs in the same vein of Ritual as the set seemed to drag in the last few minutes. But for a band just starting out, it was a very impressive performance. At risk of sounding like the litany of salivating indie blogs – believe the hype.

- fasterlouder.com.au


Discography

March 2008: Artefacts EP released Australia/ NZ through MGM Distribution/ i-tunes
October 2008: Ritual Single released Australia/ NZ through MGM distribution and I-tunes

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Bio

Utilising a collaborative song writing process to create dynamic and contorted songs, Tic Toc Tokyo occupy their own space within Australia's musical History. Fuelled by the success of their debut EP "Artefacts in mid 2007 (which received radio play on Australia's Triple J, RRR, FBI Radio) new single "Ritual" sees the band developing their unique sound of haunting vocals, abrasive tones and percussive drumming. Led by a non-compromising and unified rhythm, Ritual moves along like a rain-dance, dual vocals, textured guitar parts and melodica provide an overall anxious mood.Recorded and mixed by Nao Anzai (Damo Suzuki, Beach House), the single includes a dub remix of Artefacts EP track "Colour of Place, and two live tracks recorded at Melbourne's Pony Club, which allow the band to display an expansive sound where space is taken on as an integral element. Following in the likes of The Birthday Party, The Go -Betweens and Hunters and Collectors and having shared a stages with a diverse ray of bands including Midnight Juggernauts and Snowman. Tic Toc Tokyo have quickly made a name for themselves in the Melbourne music scene and beyond. 2009 will see the band release a full length album and plans for a tour of North America, Canada and Europe.Ritual, sees Tic Toc Tokyo continuing to carve out their place as a relevant and exciting band