Ttotals are a duo from Nashville, TN. "Annimal Skkulls" is their debut release, and on it they play rock music, utilizing basic elements like guitars and drums to make their sound. Don't let that fool you, though, because all sorts of delayed vocals, feedback, and snippets of sampler swirl around the interior of their strum-n-chug. The band's penchant for rocking out while simultaneously sounding pleasantly dazed and distant reminds me at times of Sic Alps, while their sense of cathartic release calls to mind bands like the Feelies or Polvo.
The disc blazes to life with "Take Care of Me", as a quick skirl of feedback is annihilated by drummer Marty's raucous kick-in. The band settles into a determined, swinging stomp behind soaring, THC-drenched vocals. A quick slowdown follows--both "String of Life" and "Portrait of a Man" are spacious, murky, and shambolic, the delayed voice of singer Brian hovering over each song's trundling rhythms and wobbly guitars--enabling Ttotals to demonstrate their skill with slower material. Disc closer "Upon Some Action" brushes up against the edges of krautrock as it rolls off into the sunset, sounding like a meeting in the desert between Neu! and the Meat Puppets.
"Annimal Skkulls" is a tightly-woven debut, a warm analog broth of good songs and good playing. Another good release for a good label--see if you can find a copy before it goes away.
8/10 -- Mike Griffin (19 May, 2010)