Triathalon – Nothing Bothers Me
TRIATHALON’s second full-length, ‘Nothing Bothers Me’, is out now via Broken Circles Records. Andy Barton weighs in on the record.Andy Barton
out of 10
Nothing Bothers Me
November 13th, 2015
Broken Circles Records
Savannah, Georgia’s Triathalon have experienced their fair share of ebb and flow since songwriter Adam Intrator first released music in 2011. After releasing a handful of EP’s and 7”’s with varying members throughout the first four years of playing together, the band finally released their debut album, Lo-Tide—a dreamy collection of R&B and surf-inspired grooves—last October via Broken Circles. After the unfortunate but amicable departure of bassist Alex Previty, the band toured heavily over the course of the next year with a rotating cast of keyboard and bass players. Now back with their latest effort, Nothing Bothers Me, the band seems to suffer little from changing tour lineups and the loss of Previty, as he still lends bass playing and mixing talents to the core trio’s sophomore LP. The album is more adventurous but still possesses a sonic aesthetic similar to their first full-length; what stands out most this time around is their confidence in the unit’s sound.
The Savannah crew comes out of the gate stepping up their self-ascribed “experimental sketchiness” with album-opener “Mellow Moves”, which makes its way from low-key instrumental to energetic blast of pop rock in no time. Anchored by Chad Chilton’s vigorous beat, Intrator’s falsetto lifts the song through a third section before the song’s slowed coda offers a chance to catch one’s breath. The band intersperses their driving pop formulas with these sonic curiosities—including two instrumental tracks—even blurring the line between the two with lead-single “Slip’n”, a propulsive, shoegaze-y number with a reflective, three-minute intro shrouded in synthesized organ textures. It’s a striking balance that offers comfort and requires immersion in equal measure.
The same goes for Intrator’s writing. While still full of sultry sensuality, as heard on the mood music of “It’s You”, the lead singer grapples with slightly more melancholy matters throughout the record: the disappointment of being left hanging by a lover, on that same song; or the inevitable disconnect between mind and body when sadness takes hold, like on the album’s title track (“Feeling weirder now/My brain shuts down and wraps around/My mind can’t make my mouth shut”). His lyrics lend ambiguity to songs like “Chill Out”, which could be taken either as a laid-back mantra or a self-directive to calm a racing mind. The band’s textured guitars and Intrator’s occasional predilection for a higher register further cloak these details.
Nothing Bothers Me might be viewed as an extension of their work on Lo-Tide, with more experimental arrangements and guitar-tone tampering (they’re even closer to a Connan Mockasin/Captured Tracks amalgamation now), but to do so would overlook the band’s path towards solidarity in the face of fluctuating membership and constant touring. That the band is trying new things while maintaining their pop core—and persevering at all—speaks to the fact that they’ve determined what works best for them, in the process creating an album that’s accessible but still requires its listener to be discerning enough to wade through its many murky waters.