Another State, the debut album from Torquay based five piece Tourists, introduces us to the band’s sprawling capabilities – clearly all accomplished musicians, each sound on the record crests another, layered in a darkly cinematic feat. Their expansive, melancholy sound encompasses a huge range of genres, from new wave inflections to 80s synth pop, and yet the transition between sounds is seamless, the band coasting between influences like riding a wave in their native seaside resort.
A standout on the album is Remains; standing at a bold six and a half minutes, the track’s brooding contemplation on the suicide of an unnamed public figure builds slowly into something truly transfixing. The jarring static in the song’s opening quickly gives way to oblique shoegaze, gilded with paranoia infused synths to craft a mesmerising, skeletal sound. It is followed by the highly caffeinated Smokescreen, featuring a racing bass line that fosters a sense of anxiety – the contrast between the two tracks only serve to highlight each’s idiosyncrasies, whilst maintaining a continuity in their dual thoughtfulness and atmospheric style.
The album closes with the eponymous Another State, a sweet breath of escapism after the menacing edge of the other songs. Its gauzy dream-pop unfolds in a haze of organs, forming a rich melody to drift within. Even after it appears over, lonely guitar chords are strummed out over the low buzz of background voices, a gorgeous antidote to the spectral anxiety beaten out throughout the rest of the record.
It’s an album of contradictions. The fluidity between campy electro-pop and shimmering, Angelo Badalamenti-esq soundscapes shouldn’t work, but it absolutely does. It is a heady, operatic accomplishment that deftly alternates between light and dark – whilst festivals may seem unreachable at the moment, Another State is a reminder that they’ll return, and this band will be up on stage at dusk, performing their prismatic melodies in the half light. As far as debut albums go, Tourists have done themselves proud.