Restless Idylls is the first full length album from Tropic of Cancer, the solo project of Los Angeles-based Camella Lobo. Lobo debuted in 2009 with ‘The Dull Age’/’Victims’, a 10” single on Downwards and the first of three collaborations with Juan Mendez (Silent Servant). Two years later came a second Downwards release (‘Be Brave’, remixed by Cabaret Voltaire’s Richard H. Kirk), followed soon after by The Sorrow Of Two Blooms on Blackest Ever Black – the label’s third release and one if its most cherished. Since then there have been 12” releases on Mannequin, Sleeperhold Publications, Ghostly International (a Part Times Punks Sessions live split with HTRK) and a limited edition compilation, The End of All Things, compiling singles and unreleased recordings. Restless Idylls marks ToC’s return to BEB and consists of eight new recordings written in Los Angeles, with additional production from Karl O’Connor (Regis) in New York and London. Its themes? The usual: romance, devotion, pain and helplessness. Mixed up mortals struggling against the brute mechanics of fate, and proving unequal to the task. A forced retreat into private, precious idylls of longing, faith, mystery, even misery. The urgent motorik of lead single ‘More Alone’ is perhaps a misleading foretaste of the full-length, which is more lush, languid and extravagantly despondent than previous TOC material. Troubled hymns from an empty room, in a drowned world. A sensual and sepulchral psychedelia.
This year has seen Tropic Of Cancer stealthily plot a successful course for total infiltration of our affections, with some well chosen releases laying down the foundations of expectation for the band’s much vaunted debut album, slated for release on Blackest Ever Black next year. This eminently collectable three track release for Belgian imprint Sleeperhold will no doubt jostle for first place with that wonderfully atmospheric 12″ on Mannequin and split HTRK release on Ghostly for best Tropic Of Cancer release of 2012. It’s “Children Of A Lesser God”, the final exquisite track that will floor most people, capturing Camella Lobo and company at their most powerful. Spartan drum machines and nerve tingling guitars form the backbone of this stunning seven minute track as Lobo’s undeniably plaintive delivery sinks ever deeper into the murky recesses.
The Part Time Punks Radio Sessions 12″ by HTRK and Tropic of Cancer holds six sublime songs of desire. Comparable to a fly-on-a-wall Peel Sessions, the critically acclaimed Part Time Punks radio show is the sound of the LA underground, run by local icon Michael Stock. The limited split captures both bands live at the radio headquarters during HTRK’s first 2011 tour of the USA, accompanied by comrades in minimalism and melancholia, Tropic of Cancer. Flipping this vinyl sounds like two sides of the same cursed coin, and mirrors a high school dance playing an endless lustful waltz. BPMs bumped down to a psychic stalk. It’s a broken and beautiful memento.
Brand new 12” from Tropic of Cancer, one the most important realities in the modern post-punk and darkwave scene. The band consists of Camella Lobo and John Juan Mendez. Though Tropic Of Cancer’s sound has been called gothic, cold wave and drone pop, the band’s take on their influences is anything but nostalgic. Lobo and Mendez have managed to imbue their own elusive gaze and craft a strangely beautiful and intoxicating sound in the wake of their predecessors. The three tracks on this new 12” take us gently by the hand into a slowed-down opium dream – it’s like watching the desert from the same stark corners where Lyciastood many years ago. This EP gathers the primal thrust of their bleak Post-Punk (think about Cultural Decay shaking hands with Section 25 in their psychedelic/buddhist years) and Minimal Wave aesthetics with this entirely new dimension in the music of TOC – heartfelt and deep. Cold waves have never been so warm.