Translucent Songs – The Walking Wounded

Translucent Songs
The Walking Wounded

Following the great critical and commercial success of the sounds captured on Radiohead’s landmark Ok Computer it’s a given that the following years would contribute their share of albums bearing the influence of that watershed release. From countless lead singers adopting an anguished Thom Yorke croon to the thematic focus of Granddaddy’s Software Slump and Pavement enlisting Nigel Godrich to give that computer-in-a-wind-tunnel sound to their Terror Twilight, a new sound passed into the listener’s mass vernacular and multiplied itself across genres. Continuing the multiplication of that legacy is Translucent Songs.

Comprised of multi-instrumentalists Dillon DeWaters and Robert Realmuto, Translucent Songs threaten to push the boundaries of that influence beyond the previously established pop perimeters. Where bands like Favez or Longwave took the easy way out and churned out more than a few dead on Radiohead clones, Translucent Songs distill the said influences in mixture of shoegazer pop, industrial drones, and slow-core tempos. While the extent of that sound can be, at times, underwhelming, with vocals rarely rising above an ethereal murmur and the instrumental lines combining into a tangled atmospheric mass, the expansive layers of production ultimately envelopes the listener.

Synthesized cello seems to make up a sizable portion of the sonic backdrop in tracks like trip-hopish “Some Monday” and the off-kilter indie pop of “Somehow I Knew It Was You,” with detached drama providing a vaguely unsettling vibe. Still, as vast as the sounds seem, there seems to be a lot of empty space, with no particular musical element stepping up to assume the unfilled areas. While, this usually doesn’t present itself as a problem, the pleasant gray tones become a little tiresome when tracks stretch over the five-minute mark with melodies meandering a little too much.

With only nine tracks, Translucent Songs doesn’t have all that much time to establish the uniqueness of their sound, with only a few tracks managing to make a truly visceral impact. The huge tribal drum beats of “Sorry Again” become mesmerizing after only a few resonations, just as the vaguely danceable drum samples of “Talk the Walk” are cast in a dense blur of atmospheric and psychedelic effects that count as the album’s most obviously rocking track.

Honestly, this is probably the album that Radiohead consciously went into the studio with the intentions of not making, as it would have no doubt been received as a too logical follow-up to Ok Computer. That’s not to say that Translucent Songs have made a dead-on knock-off – far from it. The Walking Wounded is considerably more detached, much less paranoid, and ultimately less immediate than the Radiohead classic. Overall, there is little denying that Translucent Songs have bypassed the easy route by cutting a path through as yet unexplored territory. And while that territory is somewhat desolate and cold,exploration is ultimately its own reward.