TripSitter don’t do much that hasn’t already been done within the confines of post-hardcore, but on debut album The Other Side of Sadness, this Austrian quartet take the less experimental, more melodic elements of this genre – angst, a sense of tragedy, melody coupled with aggression, shouted vocals and lots of tremolo guitars – and put them together to impressive effect.
In forgoing post-hardcore’s experimental streak and doubling down on melody, TripSitter play to their strengths, balancing this with chunky riffing, jangling arpeggios and taut songwriting. A draining listen, it feels longer than its ten tracks and 43 minutes, but this onerous quality comes from the emotional heft it conjures, rather than any instrumental section (of which there are a few) needing a trim. The Other Side of Sadness is, apparently, a story about depression, although the definition of a concept album is played loose and fast here, with a more open lyrical approach, dealing with inner conflict, isolation and ennui. The fat-free song writing keeps it moving along, even when a bit of shoegaze is introduced (‘Always’), and it’s also gratifying that the clean chorus/screamed verse act (not necessarily a bad thing, but definitely not always a good thing either), which it would’ve been easy to revert to, is avoided.
Given the predominance of mid–paced tempos and choppy riffs, and without a breakdown in sight, even by the standards of post–hardcore The Other Side of Sadness is a bit too reflective to start many pits, but the advantage of this choice to be more cerebral than physical, as with comparable acts like Up River, Daitro, Weak Teeth or Home Ties, is that it is heart-on-sleeve to the point of being music as therapy.
The Other Side of Sadness is out now on Prosthetic. Purchase here.
Words: Gregory Brooks