You know when it’s just been raining very heavily and suddenly the clouds break and the sun shines through? That’s what Trupa Trupa’s music sounds like as intense loud passages give way to gentle quiet interludes. This four-piece from Gdansk were making only their second U.K. appearance but they held the attention of the audience throughout and received warm applause at the end.
Their set lasted around forty-five minutes and was composed of about ten songs, all sung in English and culled from their last album Headache and the soon to be released Jolly New Songs. The band’s name can be translated as Corpse Corpse and with titles like ‘Wasteland’, ‘Sky Is Falling’ and ‘Coffin’ we weren’t exactly in ‘Moon in June’ territory – the feeling of the songs was often sombre, hence the irony of their new album’s title ‘Jolly New Songs. Single phrases such as ‘Wasteland wasteland in my mind. Wasteland wasteland in my eyes’ or ‘Away…to me’ were repeated many times becoming hypnotic and almost Siren-like. Some words of Dylan Thomas come to mind about the meaning of his poems: ‘I don’t know but they’re bloody good, aren’t they?’ Trupa Trupa have been dubbed post-punk-psych and their songs are reminiscent of both Wire and Savages in their emotional power and intensity.
They’ve got the classic line-up of drums, bass and two guitars with some keyboards on several songs. One of the guitarists, Rafal Wojczal, has fashioned his instrument out of an oil can creating an unusual tone as well as being ecologically sound. Bassist Wojtek Juchniewicz sang more lead vocals than during their last London appearance at Cafe OTO last August and on ‘Sky Is Falling’ he out-screamed Dave Grohl: grating on the ear but intentionally so. Tomek Pawluczek on drums played very solidly and often pounded his tom tom and bass drum to add to the storm of sound.
There was no encore: the club organizers were apparently keen to get on to the dance part of the evening. Front man Grzegorz Kwiatkowski expressed his thanks to the audience of around fifty for coming to see a band from Gdansk that they’d probably never heard of before. With a couple of recent plays of their new single ‘To Me’ on BBC Six music and their new album about to be released, let’s hope word gets around about Trupa Trupa and it’s not another year before we see them live in London again.
Trupa Trupa’s Jolly New Songs will be released on ici d’ailleurs/Blue Tapes/X-Ray Records on 27th October.