Terry Malts – Nobody Realizes this is Nowhere


Slumberland’s musical palette is well-established: Typically their roster merges New Zealand indie-pop Wedding Present-inflected British fare and Pacific Northwestern twee but the label does occasionally step outside its boundaries and Terry Malts a punk-rock project featuring members of the Smiths-worshipping Magic Bullets is one such instance. It’s rare to hear bands actually progress towards a less refined aesthetic — typically Morrissey is a gateway drug for over-it punks — and accordingly Nobody Realizes This is Nowhere patents a truly bizarre sound: It’s a post-post-punk punk record. Chew on that.

Like their debut Killing Time Corey Cunningham’s guitars which sound like Cheap Time run through a busted tube amp are Terry Malts’ biggest asset — he adds explosive shredding to tom-heavy Angry Samoans romps (“They’re Feeding”) college-rock fuzztone to uptempo ballads (“Buy Buy Baby”) and Mascis squeals to straightforward pop-punk (“Well Adjusted”).

But as the LP settles vocalist Phil Benson begins to shine. He hasn’t stripped his Moz influences entirely but at different moments — like when he does his best Dave Smalley sing-speak on “Life’s A Dream” — it’s a pleasure to hear him attempt to capture the psyche of a teenage glue-sniffer. From Benson Nobody gets its deliciously loboto streak — he tries on Danzig-influenced sci-fi on “Human Race.” He decries squarehood on “So Serious.” He names a song “Comfortably Dumb.” And while Terry Malts are never fully convincing in their stupidity (like Mean Jeans we suspect the band is repressing their inner art-school-kid tendencies) it’s fully refreshing to see a band attempt to regress to their adolescence. Slumberland has a winner here.