You’d be forgiven if you saw this Melbourne band’s name and thought, ‘These guys must really be into maths’… They sure do know how to cut shapes on the stage, but once their musical talents are unveiled, you’ll soon forget you initially confused them with a geometrical shape (tetrahedron), and their actual name – Tetrahedra – and all of the electro-pop goodness they encompass, will be permanently engrained in your mind.
The quintet capped off 2016 with a mini two-week residency at Collingwood’s Gasometer Hotel, with their final show of the year packing a serious punch. You can tell this young and upcoming band are set for high skies, not only because of, you know, having actual talent, but because they filled out the Gas on a Tuesday… and in that weird time of year between Christmas and New Years’ where no one knows what the heck they’re doing, where they’re going, or what they’re seeing, while simultaneously doing, going to, and seeing about a million things in the space of a few days.
GlamouRatz kicked off the night’s proceedings, with a set filled with a whole lot of synthy noise. Add some sex-like moans, a ‘meow’ or 10, three singers, and one synth/keys/bass player, and you’ve got a pretty strange half-hour up your sleeve.
The four-piece’s sample of Black Eyed Peas’ “My Humps” got some feet tapping along, but the minimal crowd didn’t seem to be responding all that well – perhaps at no surprise, since being referred to as ‘bitches’ consistently throughout the show.
The eccentric styling and sounds of GlamouRatz were coupled with some catchy bass beats, though in songs such as “Pussy Doctor”, the vocals – which sounded more like talking than actual singing – were often hard to decipher.
The group’s biggest track, “Club Rat”, rallied some fans with its likable beat, but the real hero of the Melbourne crew came in the form of vocalist Claudette Justice. With a set of lungs that garnered the crowd’s attention and some killer dance moves to boot, this singer is what transformed GlamouRatz’s set into something worth seeing.
Knocking the tempo down a few notches, next to grace the stage was Melbourne based singer/songwriter, Tanya Batt. Performing under her moniker Batts, this Birmingham-bred Brit showcased her incredible voice for the following half hour.
Backed by a few fellows who respectively donned the keys, drums and guitar, Batts and her band captured the ever-building audience’s attention from start to finish. Beautiful harmonies between Batts and band members created a clean and enrapturing sound – in stark contrast to the dance tunes of GlamourRatz earlier on.
Reminiscent of Florence + The Machine and London Grammar, many of Batts’ songs incorporate a composition that builds up over the course of the tune. Starting with a delicate verse, then adding gradual crescendo, by the end of the tracks Batts’ voice and her accompaniment had completely filled the room.
The songstress paid homage to Haddaway, with a cover of his most renowned track “What Is Love”. Batts’ version, however, was less dancefloor, more emotive…and included a saxophone. Reigning in the electronic beats, she transformed the track to a down-tempo, understated number, baring a likeness to something The XX might perform.
Batts’ set included everything you want in a live gig. Incredible vocals, upbeat songs you can dance to, slower tempo ones that demand attention, a frontwoman solo with the band side stage, a congenial performer who can comfortably talk to a crowd, yet isn’t arrogant…the list goes on. This Batts lass is certainly a musician to pay attention to in 2017.
And finally, the main event. Melbourne’s coolest geometrical shape/band hit the stage with their fun and energetic, electro-pop tunes…but not before acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land – something often reserved for big community events and sporting matches, not often heard in a music venue. It was a welcomed addition; perhaps other musicians may begin to follow suit.
Setting the scene with their newly released “Whether You Like It Or Not”, the quintet instantly had the crowd dancing along to the synth-filled track. If ever a song was to be labelled ‘bright’ or ‘colourful’, this is it.
A bassline with an 80s vibe, check. Clear vocal harmonies, check. Energetic and playful vibes, check. This band knows exactly what they’re doing… But this should come as no surprise, since all of the members of the 5-piece met during their time at the renowned Victorian College of the Arts. You can tell the group is well versed in actual music training and theory, simply through the quality of sound each musician commands from their respective instruments.
Throughout the following tracks, Tetrahedra showcased their range of taste and thus their own carefully crafted genre, with songs ranging from synth-heavy numbers, complete with video-game-like 8-bit sounds, through to slower, harmonious, jazzy tracks.
Frontwoman Maddie Otto’s vocals were highlighted during “Glorious”, a staccato-esque number that brought the theatrical to mind.
Their first single ever to be released, “Path of Wire”, featured an ethereal resonance, reminiscent of former Melbourne duo Young Heretics. Tetrahedra’s Bjork influence was evident in this experimental-electro track.
Over the course of the following few songs, again it was clear the sheer talent each musician in the group upholds in their own right. Bass player Jack Davies during “Everything”, Max Dowling on the keys in “Claarsping”, keys gal Lena Douglas during “I Call Mine” and the sticks man Hudson Whitlock in “Path of Wire”; each member had their moment to shine.
Throughout the show, it became increasingly apparent this five-piece has truly crafted their own genre of electro-pop. Their vast array of influences were abounding in each and every song; their Tame Impala sway shining through in the next track “Everything”. In the up-tempo number, Maddie Otto’s voice again shone through, complimented by an entrancing musical arrangement that moved from disconnected notes in the verses, to a smooth collection of sounds and vocals in the chorus that, when assembled together, were extraordinarily mesmerising.
The unique Melbourne group saved their best ‘til last, finishing with the upbeat “I Call Mine”. By this point, the entire band room was dancing along to the beachy-styled, catchy beat embedded through this track.
Throughout the evening the electro-pop group’s influences were clearly displayed, but moreover this quintet manages to continuously alter their sound, forming a melodically colourful genre of their own.
With each song unalike the next, Tetrahedra are so unashamedly themselves, which is without a doubt their greatest asset.
The author attended the gig on the 27th December 2016.