Earlier this year, a passionately disgruntled Internet observer gladly informed me that I was a “fucking idiot” for saying I didn’t want to listen to an album by an artist that called himself “Com Truise.” Admittedly, that’s a pretty shallow dismissal, but it at the very least provides even more anecdotal evidence that artists are running out of names. Com Truise himself, AKA Seth Haley, responded with a shrugging “haters gonna hate.” But, in light of this, I felt the need to remind myself that I came around on The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, a band whose overly precious moniker still hasn’t become any less saccharine to these ears, though their sounds ultimately won me over. And if I’m being truly honest with myself, Neutral Milk Hotel is kind of a stupid name, too. It’s hardly a wonder that someone would settle on Girls or Women and be done with it.
Com Truise, while evoking a kind of ironic nostalgia in his name and Unknown Pleasures-the-Commodore-64-game album art, is not nearly as painfully chillwave as one might be led to believe. No doubt, synths play an overwhelming part on Galactic Melt, Com Truise’s debut. In fact, they play pretty much the only part, as there are scarcely any explicitly human elements to be heard here, not that that’s necessarily a problem. The album recalls Boards of Canada via ’80s hip-hop and R&B, or Kraftwerk tapes melted on a dashboard. It’s music to soundtrack a video arcade romance, from the pop-and-lock funk of highlight “Cathode Girls” to the throbbing bass pulse of “Air Cal,” and the dreamy effects-laden flutter of “Flightwave.” After a while, the tracks have a tendency to blend together in an analog synth stupor, but it’s a pleasant drunkenness, blissful and soft around the edges.
Galactic Melt treads a lot of familiar territory, but Com Truise’s methods display a lot of potential. When he settles into a groove, he can bust out a jam worth breaking out the sweatbands for. Haley has some artistic growth ahead of him yet, but Galactic Melt is a strong enough start for me to offer something of a mea culpa, just so long as nobody calls me “glib.”
Stream: Com Truise – “Cathode Girls”
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.