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"For Folks Sake"

“Intensely felt, beautifully composed, effervescent and astounding... unfeasibly beautiful” - For Folks Sake

"The Line Of Best Fit"

“Tristram’s experimental blend of sweeping harmonies and foreboding post-rock rhythms has produced a beautifully simple, urgent and shimmering slice of folk” - The Line Of Best Fit

"“As good as anything we've heard this year”"

This magnificently monikered four-piece mix trad-folk harmonies with post-rock textures, like Mumford & Sons meets Mogwai

The background: With a name like Tristram they were never going to be a death metal band or exponents of extreme dubstep, but they're actually not as "gay" (in the Chris Moyles sense, not the one connoting sexual orientation) as you might think. Yes, the eponymous singer (and well done him for not calling his band Bawtree) has a wispy, whispery voice that many, from Nick Drake to Elliott Smith, have employed as a means of communicating everything from wonder to distress; and yes, the numerous instruments are gently deployed rather than furiously attacked. But that isn't to suggest this London four-piece is lacking in light and shade, or indeed power – far from it.

Indeed, the idea behind Tristram, according to the frontman, was to form a group that would combine his twin loves of folk and post-rock. The songs would be folk-ish in terms of melody and structure but the arrangements, and what we're going to pretentiously term "sonic techniques", would be of the experimental sort that you might recognise from outfits such as Silver Mt Zion and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. "I'm a sucker for anything involving harmonies, and for the simplicity of old folk songs," he says, "but I also like to incorporate some of the power and scope of the post-rock bands." Things to listen out for, then, in a Tristram song: enunciation and vocal inflections used to rhythmic effect; strings and ukulele as more than mere adornment; and most significantly, lots of tonal variety and space.

We read a thread on a website the other day that accused us up here at New Band of the Day of variously being overcritical of new bands and too fawningly excitable, praising everyone and everything in our path. Well, sorry for annoying proponents of the latter theory but the lead track from the new EP by Tristram, Dust Disturbed, is as good as anything we've heard this year. Ironically, it is the least Tristram-like of Tristram's tracks in that it is neither folk-ish nor post-rock-esque; instead, it thrillingly evokes the urgent, ornate baroque pop of the Zombies and their latterday progeny such as the Pernice Brothers and Violens.

Dust Disturbed would appear to be an anomaly in Tristram's growing catalogue of songs about "zombies, authors, ships, bicycles, astral travel and fruit". That said, the keening guitars and mournful violins are ubiquitous elements – leitmotifs, if you will – in their music. Of the other tracks on their forthcoming Accidents & Artifice EP, Song for Laurie is more conventionally folky and yet the beat at the start is – no joke – like a slightly less metallic version of the whack on Jay-Z's 99 Problems. Then it's replaced by the rhythmic strum of acoustic guitar and waltz-time gait of the cello. Coelacanth features a strange shimmering guitar effect that we're guessing is a tremolo and places it almost in My Bloody Valentine territory, although halfway through the song, as is Tristram's wont, changes pace/direction and becomes as breathily entrancing as Colin Blunstone. Tristram are messy and methodical, haphazard and strategic. Pure accident and artifice.

The buzz: "Tristram are that rare thing – a band that speaks to a contemporary world, while being firmly rooted in older folk traditions."

The truth: Their songs are sometimes like "trad arr" ballads, other times brilliantly poppy or plain weird. An English Fleet Foxes? An out-there Mumford and Sons? They're both/neither.

Most likely to: Use a tremolo.

Least likely to: Join the Tremeloes.

What to buy: The Accidents & Artifice EP is released by Broken Sound on 15 November.

File next to: Pernice Brothers, Mumford and Sons, Mariner's Children, Zombies.

- The Guardian

"“A flair for the dark”"

London's Tristram demonstrate a flair for dark acoustic pop with their latest track "Rhyme or Reason". Listen to the string-propelled-piece before it comes out November 15 on their debut EP, Accidents & Artifice, through Broken Sound. - Pitchfork


Feb 2010 - Someone Told Me A Poem EP - Oh! Inverted World
Nov 2010 - Accidents & Artifice EP - Broken Sound Music



Tristram are a 3 piece London-based band with a clear love of all things experimental. Their sound was once rooted in folk but now via looped cello, breakbeats, and dense electric guitar textures they have created something that builds on this and incorporates their love of less conventional offerings. The result is music which creates a sense of old world drama and romance transposed into a modern context- a hypnotic mixture of the familiar and the unexpected.

This is a band that uses traditional instruments in a far from traditional manner. The cello ranges from the beautifully melodic to a source of percussion, scraped noise, and fluttering harmonics. Drums no longer provide just the beat, but unpredictably punctuate and augment the intensity of the surrounding sound.

2010 saw the release of two stunning EPs - Someone Told Me A Poem via Oh! Inverted World, and Accidents & Artifice via Broken Sound (Peggy Sue, Forest Fire, Rachael Dadd, The Mariner’s Children). These releases saw the band receive critical acclaim from the likes of Pitchfork, The Guardian, and Clash, as well as radioplay at Radio 1, Radio 2, Xfm, 6 Music, NME Radio and many more. Last year also saw headline tours in the UK and Iceland, and festival sets at Secret Garden Party, Standon Calling, and In The Woods. They are currently preparing to embark on 2 separate UK tours - one with Lulu and The Lampshades (Moshi Moshi), followed by a second outing with Laish (Willkommen Collective).

Tristram tie together the worlds of the experimental and the accessible with beautiful clarity. Their live shows provide a rare find, something that sets them apart from many others - 3 individuals all contributing their own unique styles in equal measure. It’s this genuinely collective approach to their music which makes for such an unexpected and exciting sound.

"“A flair for the dark”

“Buoyed by a rare grace”
Clash (Track of the Day)

“Tristram’s experimental blend of sweeping harmonies and foreboding post-rock rhythms has produced a beautifully simple, urgent and shimmering slice of folk”
The Line Of Best Fit

“Intensely felt, beautifully composed, effervescent and astounding... unfeasibly beautiful”
For Folks Sake