Monday, January 14, 2013

Album Review: Terra Terra Terra - The Space We Create

Album Rating: B
Although the recording of an album is usually a long, grueling process, as a music fan it can be tough to understand what the average group is going through when they put in long week after long week in the studio, making sure the final product gleams. The idea of recording the same part over and over again for hours on end is something that has to be experienced to fully understand, and as a listener who will typically listen to an album for less total time than a full day of recording for that album that concept is a tricky one to comprehend. We often barely bat an eye when an artist releases three albums in as many years, and we react similarly when a group takes five years to make sure their final product is exactly right. So, when Terra Terra Terra advertises their new album, The Space We Create, as a process that has taken a year and a half to "bubble up into fruition," it's tough not to ask, "So what?" The whole idea of the "12-hour studio days" which Terra Terra Terra put in to ensure the best album possible seems almost cliché because it feels like it's something any artist could do, and it doesn't really separate Terra Terra Terra from the other pop rockers out there.

This introduction is especially appropriate for describing The Space We Create, as it's an album whose quality is absolutely present but unfortunately hidden behind quite a few pop rock clichés, almost like the ones used to describe the album. What's most frustrating about the release is the meat of almost every song is hidden behind a cookie-cutter introduction. It's not that the intro sections are bad, but it just feels like they're something we've all heard before. The simple guitar plucking at the beginning of "The Only One" almost ruins the song thanks to how formulaic it is, which is really unfortunate because every other verse and chorus in the song is exactly what anyone could want from a well-done pop rock tune. Similar things happen on "Someone Like You," "Burn," and especially the titular album closer, noteworthy because of a somewhat boring introduction which leads into one of the best anthemic choruses to come out in quite a while. The fact that such quality sections are almost always nestled snugly behind unimpressive ones is unfortunately damaging to the album as a whole.

That's not to say the album is bad - it's a very solid pop-rock album, and there are definitely songs which break away from the unfortunate cycle described above. "She Was...Disarming" is one of the standout tracks because it's got a catchy middle and end which are actually backed up by a good introduction. "Angel" is similar: though it's not a totally new idea, the song feels fresh and fun with its sing-along choruses and super-catchy setup. It's just a little bit frustrating to see those arduous 12-hour days and the difficult year-and-a-half writing and recording process come off as formulaic like they did in the album's press release, formulaic like the mundane "whoa-oh" sections of "Crash" and the intro sections of most of the songs on the album as a whole. The Space We Create is a good album, make no mistake - it's just a shame to see the best parts hidden away behind clichés like the ones used to describe the album in the first place.


1. Without Forgiveness We're Savages
2. Angel
3. Away For A While
4. Burn
5. Glow
6. Better Than Screaming
7. Crash
8. Someone Like You
9. The Only One
10. The Thing Is, I'm Never As Good As When You're There
11. She Was...Disarming
12. The Space We Create

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