Swaggering guitar riffs, a mix saturated in physicality and startlingly self-aware lyrics come together in the holiest of unions inside Terry Ohms’ brand new Terryfirma LP, which is out this January and has already been garnering quite the buzz amongst critics domestically and on the international level. Opening with the plaintive “Mind Blow,” deafening psychedelia of “Bring All to Front” and swirling melodies in “Peaks and Valleys,” it’s clear from the get-go that this is no ordinary indie rock LP. Studded in ebullience, a savage EQ that turns simple songs into anthemic noise-rock juggernauts and marked by kinetic narratives that touch on an intimate side of Ohms’ life that we haven’t heard much of in the past, Terryfirma defies the laws of pop and bonds itself to a variety of experimentalism that has the potential to reign supreme in 2019 if provided the right platform.
Turbulent is the word that first came to mind when I was analyzing the arrangement of tracks in this record, as the transition from “Doubtin It” to the electronically-styled single “We Love You” and eventually into “Those Eyes” and its rollicking beat is anything but smooth from a conceptual standpoint. But that being said, these songs tend to bleed into each other through a kindred melody that seems to carry over from one track to the next, not unlike what you would find in a more progressively-designed piece. On a certain level I feel like these tracks are trying to convey a statement that is much bigger than any of their individual messages would lead us to believe present.
“Peaks and Valleys,” “Those Eyes” and “Bring All to Front” represent some of the harder tracks that Terryfirma sports, while “Remember How to Live,” “Mind Blow” and the calculated but spindly “Little Bit” make up the softer end of the record, though it should be noted that they appear to utilize their space a little better than their more violent counterparts do. It’s not as if this album starts off really rough and gradually finds a tender landing spot by the time “Little Bit” ceases to play; the tension is sprinkled throughout the whole of the LP, making it so that every burst of cathartic energy is sumptuous and worth savoring, no matter how fleeting or elaborate it might come to us.
If I were to breakdown Terryfirma in the simplest of terms possible I would probably describe it as high-end college radio fodder with Grade-A packaging and polish that you would more commonly find when scanning your FM dial for hot new pop songs. This combination isn’t exactly one that you see or hear every day in contemporary music, but at any rate it’s what Terry Ohms has cooked up for us in his latest trip to the studio, and I think that it lives up to the high standard he set for himself long ago with releases like Alarm Clock Recordings. This Birmingham icon has been in the game for a very long time, but he’s still got a lot to share with us, starting with this effective piece of raucous rock n’ roll.