Tristan Puig Releases Beautifully Brutal New Album
The memories we make with our friends are some of the best — they’re also the ones that make the most magic. Last summer, for example, Prague-based singer-songwriter Tristan Puig teamed up with their friends to produce a selection of tender alt songs that would become Tristan’s newest album, I Can’t Believe They Invented It! Across eight songs coming in at just over half an hour, Tristan delivers a record equal parts moving and eerie.
Touching on several heart-heavy themes like self-sabotage, insecurity, love, and loss, I Can’t Believe They Invented It! runs the gamut of the soul as Tristan explores the parts of being human that we’re not brave enough to explore ourselves. They’re thoughtful about this, though, never stumbling into any major gut-punch territory; instead, they pen sad songs sweetened by dreamy melodies, making emotion palatable in a way not all artists have mastered.
ICBTII! opens with the impossibly lovely “Balance,” the perfect introduction to an album rich with the bittersweet tones it boasts. The arrangement here isn’t so much minimalist as it just careful — it’s like it’s wary of itself. Built on gentle guitar strums and the shy shimmer of percussion, it keeps a safe distance from Tristan’s rumbling croon, but later, things evolve with blooming, jangling rhythms and soft harmony floating by. Next comes “Warmth,” experimenting with a darker tone. It’s a dizzying, shadowy lo-fi effort that finds Tristan’s voice eerie and almost angered, mimicked by the track’s lurching instrumentation. On “Tiny Things,” Tristan showcases their songwriting talent and sonic versatility with a crushing confession. There’s so little to it — just a slight guitar riff and Tristan’s aching voice, soft as a whisper — but it’s mesmeric, a knots-in-the-stomach composition that holds Tristan in all their sincere glory, soft and hurting and real and honest. It’s a beautiful heartbreaker.
“Tumult” follows and it’s a bit of a soul-cleanser, moody and slinking with pretty folk harmonies and rolling riffs languishing in the dreamy arrangement it’s built for itself. On “From A Dog To Its Master,” Tristan and friends construct yet another wholly one-of-a-kind indie effort chugging along with drowsy tempo changes and buzzy synth tones hiding in the background. “New Friends” has a classic flair to it, rich with an emotive bass and guitar line as Tristan resignedly suggests (or pleads, perhaps?) “Let’s keep pretending that we’ve never craved the touch of someone else more than we should…,” digging up some serious contemplation as the arrangement morphs briefly into something beyond itself before settling back down again.
On “Homewrecker,” we’re greeted with the soaring plume of distortion before returning to the tender strums Tristan treats so well. In the vein of some of ICBTII!’s earlier tracks, it follows a simple, quiet trajectory, allowing Tristan’s voice to deliver some of their toughest, most uncomplicated lines yet. Eventually, though, the song ruptures, moving into an intensified alt-folk arrangement. The album ends with “An Embarrassing Waste Of Time,” one of the starkest examples of self-reflection on a record not shy about its own heightened sense of consciousness. This conclusion compiles many of the elements that have peeked their way through ICBTII! — those woozy moments of quietude, the creeping pick-ups and crescendos, steady percussion, vocal versatility, a surprise evolution. The list goes on, but it’s worthy to mention it because of the fact that Tristan’s own talent evokes all of these components — they’re full of magic, an artist extracting their soul for the sake of music, and making something beautiful out of it. I Can’t Believe They Invented It! finds Tristan’s dizzying arsenal of skill at work in the most thoughtful, modest ways, but we see through the mellow veneer — this is a work of the soul, a selection of songs that had to be made. The most beautiful part? The fact that it is, indeed, really all beautiful.
Itching for more music magic? We’ve got you covered. Follow The Music Mermaid below.
P.S. We’re selling stickers! Get yours here.