The Terror of the Sea

Mandeville St. House Party

February 26, 2005


Saturday night I attended my first UNO party during two years there. The expected were in attendance: indie kids, punks, nerds, Goths, the rare acid casualty, but there were even a few "normal" kids.

Through the fog of the room, musicians milled about, tuning guitars, looking busy. This was local band The Terror of the Sea. In lieu of a stage, they played in the dining room with amps at eardrum-busting volume. Their set thrashed from beginning to end and was punctuated with Ramones, Stooges, and Broken Social Scene covers. Not typical party fare, but it got 'em dancing.

I wasn't interested in covers. I wanted new, exciting rock, the kind which cannot be genre-fied, and that was exactly what I got.

Many of the songs lacked vocals because The Terror of the Sea is in the writing process, but the outlines they showed off were impressive. Their sound was straight from Austin, combining Trail of Dead's wall of sound with Explosions in the Sky's doomed melodicism.

The group(Jones, guitarist Leslie Cox, bassist Robbie Howton, and drummer Joshua White) succeeded when they rocked. Though they sound nothing alike, The Terror of the Sea had the Built to Spill disease of saved up instrumental jams for song endings. This made the instrumentals more intriguing than the
songs. The Terror of the Sea would benefit from including melodies near the end.

These songs were all about atmosphere, and the band laid it on thick. The lyrics and singing were second to the thunder of the amps. Howton flung his hands across the bass and raised a thick rumbling that was a perfect low end for Jones and Cox's screeching dual guitar leads. White pounded his drums, and guitars went out of tune. Howton broke two strings in a matter of minutes.

It was everything that a house party band should be. After the end, the crowd needed more. They screamed and screamed as the band attempted to retune, restring, and
regroup. Their final song cascaded in seventy different directions, sounding like an Explosions in the Sky interpretation of the theme from "Lassie." Howton's bassline bopped a country western beat while the song built and built. White punched his cymbals and threw his toms while Jones, Cox, and Howton dialed in frightening tones from the amplifiers. The set
ended with trashed drums, ripped strings, and faces that were equal parts angry and pleased.

The Terror of the Sea had talent and passion.

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