Post-rock, perhaps more than most genres, has an inherent ability to lump together artists so diverse they seemingly should not fit in even close to similar categorical sub-genres, yet alone within the exact same sub-genre. Post-rock, then, features artists as wide-ranging as folk-centric epic-masterpiece purveyors Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, the soft-loud-soft instrumental rock-ists Explosions in the Sky, and this band – Tartufi – who blend lovely melodies with dreamy vocals against intense face-melting rock.
These Factory Days dropped last week; I’ve been listening to it for about a month now, and yesterday when “Eaves” came on at work, I decided it was far past time to put down some thoughts.
The album opens with the somewhat eccentric “Underwater”, which led The AV Club to write about Tartufi:
San Francisco outfit Tartufi has evolved from lush, odd pop to songs so elaborate and awash in drama that they could be part of some heavily encrypted rock opera.
Beginning with a blend of hand-claps and foot stomps, “Underwater” morphs into a pointed yet liquid track with luscious harmonies, pleasant melodies, gradual builds, and assorted volume levels and time signatures. Pair that with “Glass Eyes”, among the band’s more melodic tracks with a string movement and surreal harmony vocals, and you get even more diversity.
This is what I like about Tartufi and These Factory Days: a song like “Glass Eyes” is on the same album as, and in fact follows, “Eaves” which concludes with a hefty punch.
Driving percussion, angular guitars, and vocals that lend a nod to late 90s greats like Sunny Day Real Estate, “Furnace or Fortune” matches the opener in length and complexity matching several other tracks off the album (including the intese “Edgar Lovelace” and the opening to album finale “8 to 1”) in its swarming, sonic sensibilities.
You get this throughout These Factory Days; not a song goes by where Tartufi drop a something completely different in your lap, yet these songs are all cohesive if not intertwined in subtle similarities that keeps the album strongly bound and connected to the present. These Factory Days is best consumed as a unit, from beginning to end. Preferably through quality headphones that allow you to hear all the minute nuances of which there are plenty.
These Factory Days is out now on Southern Records. Tartufi is currently on the road in support of the album, driving across the East Coast before heading back to their San Francisco home. Listen to “Underwater” and “Eaves” below.
Southern Records [LP, 2012]
4. Glass Eyes
5. Furnace of Fortune
6. Edgar Lovelace
7. 8 to 1