HEROES OF THE CHINESE UNDERGROUND ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM
‘BEFORE THE APPLAUSE’
“Colossal drums and handclaps that connect the dots between post-punk and synth-pop.” – THE QUIETUS
“One of the most exciting new bands in Asia.” – ROCKFEEDBACK
Re-TROS are bidding to be the first Chinese band to ‘go global’. Heroes of the Chinese underground rock scene, Beijing-based ‘Rebuilding the Rights of Statues’ release their genre-spanning post punk inspired album Before The Applause on September 15th on Modern Sky Entertainment.
While extolling the virtues of classic indie rock icons Joy Division, Bauhaus and more, Re-TROS enthuse about Battles, Liars and TV On The Radio on their new album, which crosses the bridge from art school punk into pumping techno clubland and back again, over 9 mature and exquisitely constructed tracks.
The Fugazi-influenced machine gun drums, crunching heavy metal guitar and spacey, Eno-esque synth washes that meld wonderfully on the nine-minute ‘Hailing Drums’, the first full-length song on the album, provide a fitting introduction to fresh Re-TROS territory on the new LP. The song, along with the albums other ‘epics’ 8 + 2 + 8 II and At Mosp Here have already been road tested in China and the UK, proving particularly hypnotic live favourites.
“Our live show grows and grows from a simple start to a grand chapter,” says Dong. “It’s like cell division – a single cell growing into a human.”
‘8+2+8 I’ and its sister track ‘8+2+8 II” provide evidence of a gripping stylistic about-turn: a pair of dark, minimalist songs based around rhythmic, almost shamanic hand-clapping inspired by ‘Clapping Music’ by Steve Reich.
“I just got rid of all the artificial elements,” says Dong. “I’ve always wanted to make a song like this – and it finally came true on this album.”
The darkness is compounded on‘Pigs in the River’, which comes on like early-era The Coral at their most creepily echo-laden. In an almost evil vocal croak, Dong sings about the unfortunate titular swine that inspired the song title when around 16,000 pig corpses floated down Shanghai’s Huangpu river in 2013, causing headlines around the world.
‘At Mosp Here’ is infinitely more upbeat, inspired by underground German dance music. As such, it’s the most high-octane and club-ready music Re-TROS have ever recorded – and at over 12 minutes in length certainly among the most confidently stretched. Locked and loaded, with this new foray forward the band are hoping to be judged on the merit of their music rather than lazily shoved into another ‘China rock’ box.
The exact birthdate of the much blogged about ‘China rock explosion’ that took place in the noughties is subject to debate. A spark of promising indie types buzzing around the toilet circuits of Beijing has caught flame and flickered to varying degrees of intensity since. Out of this scene Beijing-based Re-TROS, always felt like the most likely to shove the boundaries forward. 10 years later, they’re ready to go global with a record that’s more eclectic and transcendent than anything the scene has produced to date.
PRE-ORDER HERE – https://re-tros.lnk.to/BTA
Signed to label Modern Sky from the outset, Re-TROS grew to become one of Asia’s leading alternative bands just as Modern Sky became China’s biggest independent label, festivalorganiser and now global music company. In 2017, eight years on, Liu Min, Hua Dong and Huang Jin have spurned their post-punk past and created Before the Applause. Produced by Hector Castillo (David Bowie, Lou Reed, Bjork, Phillip Glass), their new album fizzles with experimental vigour, electronica and ambitious scale, while still maintaining the irreplaceable Re-TROS grasp of earworm melody.