(ed’s note: if you are wondering why we are calling the album untitled, it’s because Edwin has revealed to us that it is as such. However, listeners have come to call it Vultures)
PUTTING THE PAST TO REST
They Will Kill Us All’s metamorphosis into its current embodiment had been a publicly painful process that the band had to endure with thick skin. The band, while suffering from an ever-changing line-up waded through different sounds to suit every new vocalist, finally found stability when Edwin Raj stepped up to end the battle that had the them spiraling further out of the consciousness of the already small Malaysian indie music scene. Their debut album is the product of that transformation, drawing on inspiration from the bands’ experiences together through thick and thin, and their ultimate chase for perfection.
In trying their best to stay away from their old sound, the band has taken on a more atmospheric approach with their music, layering post-punk undertones to their foundation of post-rock twangs. The change comes off subtle, but is most apparent in how much the vocals have taken a slower melodic turn as compared to the attacking higher octave that made Secret Episodes such a danceable EP. In the case of the LP, the maturity in its writing has you spending more time sitting back pondering and exploring the imagery instead.
The album gets extremely personal with an amazing standout being ‘Future Night’, which is often publicised as the tribute to the memory of their friend who had passed away, to whom the album itself is dedicated to. It fully captures the moment of being emotionally numbed from shock, a sustaining ring of a traumatic experience that can only be imagined as a listener.
Though tracks like ‘Future Night’, ‘Under the Red Sky’, and ‘Shallow Graves’ showcase the band at its best, ‘Sirens’ understandably ended up being the choice for lead single. Being the closest to bridging the gap between what makes the band unique and what’s easy digestion for radio listeners, it puts forth a lighter side to the current TWKUA incarnation.
Running modestly at just over 30 minutes, there’s no space for fillers, but even in the short time the band unavoidably trips over their ambitiousness. ‘Man of 1000 Faces’ for one, will leave you perplexed by the sudden apocalyptic setting and zombie references. Again losing momentum with the cover of P Ramlee’s ‘Sepanjang Riwayatku’ that sticks out like a sore thumb not for being the only song in Malay, but for its lack of sync with the rest of the album’s tone.
Flaws aside, TWKUA maintains being among the few local acts that manages to dodge being pegged a knock off of an international act. A feat that speaks more for their originality than any critique of their album ever can. But we’re sure some smart alec out there is going to take up the challenge to prove us wrong.
The long wait for the album’s completion undeniably stirred up an unreasonable expectation for the album to blow minds on its release but the band came through with an album that puts the past behind them. It solidifies TWKUA’s position as the spearhead in the charge to reinvigorating the seemingly comatose live acts scene in KL.
For those who have been following the band through live concerts the past year or so, the LP will not be unfamiliar territory. Consisting of songs that TWKUA has been performing at gigs since forever ago, it lets fans finally put their bootlegged recordings to rest.
LISTEN TO: ‘Shallow Graves’, ‘Under the Red Sky’, ‘Sirens’, ‘Future Night’
IF YOU LIKE THIS YOU’LL DIG: Tenderfist, Sphere, Akta Angkasa
1. GREAT GLASS CITY
2. MAN OF 1000 FACES
3. SHALLOW GRAVES
4. UNDER THE RED SKY
6. FUTURE NIGHTS
8. SEPANJANG RIWAYATKU
9.SONS OF THE FEARLESS