Tia Carrera – Untitled

Tia Carrera

Apparently, some people worship weed in this wonderful country we call the U.S. of A. Rumor has it there exist three dudes from Austin, TX, known collectively as Tia Carrera, that smoke weed as often as dogs smell each other’s asses. And though most marijuaners partake only recreationally, TC seems to indulge in a way that borders on obsession. Stroke a string, smoke a bong. Pluck a bass, puff a blunt. Slap the skins, shit yourself ‘cause you’re so mashed.

But there comes a cost to this indulgence: laziness. On Untitled, the trio (bass, drums, and guitar) of THC trudges over mountains of sound, digs through avalanches of groove, and flies above the waters of wah. This is all well and good, but only if you prepare your body to handle a mind-expanding seven riffs crammed into seven songs. Yes, you read right, only one fucking riff per song. Listening to Untitled is like opening a bag of mixed nuts and finding only walnuts, except the walnuts play boring, unending riffs.
The repetitive nature of TC’s sound sinks this LP. Remember your friend’s jam band in high school? The one where the guitarist couldn’t take his foot off the wah pedal and the bass groove ran itself into the ground after 30 seconds? Welcome back, friends, because Untitled proves that while over time influences change and musicians mature, banal musicianship doesn’t.

The most frustrating thing about listening to TC stems from what floats on the surface. TC lovingly blends ‘60s psychedelia with the stoner sludge of the Melvins and Sleep. These influences match up well on paper, but TC refuses to step beyond the threshold of its forefathers. Untitled’s entirely improvised, which in and of itself is not a detriment, but rehashing the same old shit is.

The talent is all there, but Untitled simply lacks creativity. TC’s live show probably serves as a better introduction to its brand of deafening punishment as it rattles bones and brain cells with oppressive volume. I’m almost positive this band slays onstage, letting the immediacy of the moment and the energy of the crowd power it forward like Maui Wowee stuffed into a humming vaporizer. Unfortunately, this vaporizer vaporizes ideas, and TC’s Untitled sputters out in a tepid studio environment. Maybe these marijuana mavens can muster a monstrous live album. Of course, that would require some killer hash, an electric stove, and a couple of old knives. And, of course, a wah pedal.