It's been two years since interviewing DC based duo Tereu Tereu (back when they were a trio) at SXSW 2011, but singer/guitarist Ryan Little and drummer Brendan Polmer have stayed frequent on the DC scene through a slew of shows, opening for acts like The Dismemberment Plan and Ra Ra Riot, who compliment their intricate indie-rock approach.
Tereu Tereu recently released their second full length, Quadrants (Bad Friend Records), a combination of new material and songs from their previous EP NW. “Savage Love”, a standout of NW, starts off Quadrants with fixed drums and a building tension from the sharp guitar hook. Blending on top are Little’s percipient lyrics and voice, a fence between mellifluous and slightly discordant, which provide enrichment to the intricate stop-and-go structure of the song.
Just as a quadrant is a quarter of a larger piece, the album itself provides sections of urgent and euphonious – resulting in a melodic hardness. Tracks like “Crackle and Hiss”, which begin with the crack of a guitar tremble and sharp drumming, assume the identity of a rock song until suddenly transitioning into a hypnotic space of quiet determination. Yet as the track gears towards its end it unexpectedly reverses into an adamant display of guitar solos and pounding drums while slipping into a heightened version of the earlier chorus and concluding on one quick finished hit of the drum, having come full circle.
Tereu Tereu’s incisive musical arrangements have always been a hallmark of the group’s performances and earlier work but it is clear on Quadrants that Little and Polmer have taken an already sophisticated sound and progressed it even further. Elements of krautrock are heard on tracks such as “Teeth Like Mountaintops”, indicating the two are not afraid to delve into harmonious ambient elements while maintaining the intense edge to their overall sound. The continual dichotomy displayed through the record demonstrates a knowing of when to push and when to simply let the sound exist unhindered, a rarity in the oversaturated milieu of current.
Quadrants is now available online for purchase. Tereu Tereu is currently on tour and will also be playing an Elliott Smith Tribute concert October 21 at Brooklyn’s Glasslands.