BY Alan RantaPublished Oct 15, 2012

Change is good. The first three albums by Tussle established the San Francisco band as a mainstay in dance rock, with their post-punk and Krautrock influences propelling their polyrhythmic beats into the stratosphere. With their fourth album, "hybridity" is no longer a primary descriptor of their sound. Tempest sees Tussle present themselves as a pure electronic act, managing to pack more rave into one album than Klaxons could muster in their entire catalogue. Sure, that characteristic dance punk bass guitar is still prevalent in many of their tracks, but it's placed within a far cleaner synthetic context that tends to warm over the odd bit of organic instrumentation still in use, whereas 2008 album Cream Cuts let loose in a ramshackle manner. Generally, the album moves between dub-laced downtempo beats and clap-happy house, with "Cat Pirate" as its centerpiece, a brisk yet woozy eight-minute track with evolving builds and surprising drops. Coming from a more traditional background, the album benefits from its fluid, improvisatory feel, not quantized to death like so much electronic music these days. Perhaps the title overstates the funky sound a bit, but Tempest remains the best kind of advertisement for Tussle's live show.
(Smalltown Supersound)

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