Re-TROS have been gigging around Beijing for the last two years under the name
Re-establishing the Rights of Statues before releasing this debut album on the
Badhead label and simplifying their name in the process, thank god. Indeed,
simplification best describes their brand of post-punk, reminiscent of late 1970s
David Bowie with elements of Joy Division.
On Cut-Off!, this neo-punk trio delivers
six tracks running thirty minutes: tight, straightforward guitar riffs, un-fussy
base lines and solid drumming. Minimalism, however doesn' t necessarily mean
minimal quality. Indeed, the band's meticulously-polished sound owes a lot to
Brian Eno. While on a visit to China in October last year, the legendary producer
of David Bowie, U2 and Depeche Mode added color and texture to the Beijing band's
sound and even mixed in some keyboard on a couple of tracks. Nor, for that matter,
are the English lyrics simple. Indeed, each song tells a different story.
If the Monkey Becomes the King refers to the famous novel Journey to the West
while alluding to the stupidity of mankind; while TV Show offers a somewhat
bitter challenge to authority. All said, this release will appeal to the band's
already large following (built on the back of their stunning live performances)
but its minimal running time will leave them craving for more.