Tar has been an insane surprise for me. Even though the album was released back in December, I did not notice Weeping Rat until Handmade Birds announced that they were going to release the album on vinyl with an additional five bonus tracks! Weeping Rat comes from Australia, and even though when you first hear their music you will probably label them as a darkwave band with post-punk tendencies. As soon as “Silk In The Water,” the opening song of Tar, comes in, everything yells darkwave with the band having a deep appreciation for the gothic scene of the ‘80s. The vocals play a big part in all this, giving an excellent performance throughout the album, from big moments as in “Coil” to more laid back instances, as in “Empty Hearse” and “Funeral Train.” The spooky vibe of “Come To Consciousness” further enhances that side of the band, as does “Transparency In Two,” but do not be fooled, there is a lot more going on here.
Something that stands out in a magnificent manner is the sense of rhythm that the band introduces in its work. The mechanized structures becomes apparent in all their glory in “Illusion (Void).” This makes a subtle turns towards more industrial pathways in the music of Weeping Rat, something that is further explored in “Leather Wrapped Rabbit Hole.” The types of rhythm can range from straightforward parts, as the ones found in “Light of the Moon” and “Empty Hearse,” to drunken moments, as is the case with “Transparency of Two.” But still Weeping Rat can surprise you with instances of abstract playing, for example in “Coil,” and then unleash repetitive patterns that will make you lose yourself in their impressive maze. The circling patterns of “Funeral Train” showcase that in the most fitting way possible, especially in its final part.
With an insane performance from the bass on top of the drums, the album is just lifted on a whole other level. From the more basic parts, with its big, fat sound, in songs such as “Come To Consciousness” and “Light of the Moon” it has an immediate impact on the listener. And then when it starts to offer some more interesting additions, it just shines. The slides in the opening song are just tremendous and the licks in “Funeral Train” are just out of this world. And then you have one of the most stunning performances that you will hear in this album, with the sort of Middle Eastern oriented “Satans Bazaar,” with a seriously mean performance from the bass.
The point with this band is that they are not afraid of going much further beyond the realms of death rock and darkwave. In “Deal With the Devil” they add in distortion on the drums resulting in a much more aggressive sound. That shows that they will do whatever it is necessary to squeeze out that extra potential from their music. At the same time they are also experimenting with different effects in order to enhance the overall listening experience of Tar. From the more straightforward effects in the opening song, acting mainly as to fill the space, it is apparent that those guys are serious about what they are doing. In “Light of the Moon” they throw in some additional effects in the “quitter” parts of the song, with delays suddenly appearing, hovering over your head. But there are even cases when they start flirting with the barriers of noise. “Empty Hearse” starts with the usual buzzing effects and delays, which accompany the song throughout, but after a certain point they almost retreat to a noise-induced part. And then you have a track such as “Still On Its Way” where Weeping Rat throw almost everything out of the window and turn themselves into a type of extreme industrial/electronic act out of nowhere. The synths and drums are brutal and work together perfectly in order to achieve that, while the industrial mask of the band is on the spotlight as sonic razors annihilate everything.
All of the above just put Weeping Rat at a much higher level altogether, but they would not be enough if their foundations were not solid. Weeping Rat can come up with some simply amazing parts, which will hook you to their music instantly. Underneath the foreground of “Coil” the lead parts are adding more emotion to the song, making sure that each layer of the music has an impact on the listener. Similar techniques are implemented in “Come To Consciousness,” especially near the end of the song, and in an overwhelming manner in the start of “Funeral Train.” They even take a turn for the more psychedelic, and in an extreme fashion, in “Leather Wrapped Rabbit Hole,” with the guitars dripping acid along the way. Still, in all that they will test the listener with some more bitter offerings. After all, dreamlike melodies, such as in “Ara Ish In” are not all that Weeping Rat is about. The strange melodies of “Illusion (Void)” further depict that, revealing a more intriguing face of Weeping Rat. But their most challenging self is brought forth in songs such as “Transparency In Two,” with the band drenching their parts in dissonance and elevating their playing in a crazed level.
Weeping Rat is one of the most interesting acts you will hear out there. Throughout the thirteen songs of this edition of Tar, the band will take you on a dark journey through their kaleidoscopic vision of death rock and dark wave. The industrial beats and electronic extensions that you will encounter are tremendous and crucial. It will be really interesting to see where they can take their music from here.
8.6 / 10
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