Like the Mayan calendar the cover depicts, the album marks a new start for TTNG after the loss of two members. Although they explore different styles of songwriting, this growth in a new direction is welcome, and does not lack any of the complexity that TTNG fans have grown to love. The album has a heavy feeling to it, not because it has a slow pace, but because of the way the songs are written as well as the lyrical content. The more prominent bass parts and Henry's take on vocals make a lot of the sounds sound like slow, ancient yet majestic beasts.
General reactions to each song, for those who crave more:
The album opens with "Cat Fantastic", a song style we are familiar with, but by its close we start to hear the role the bass plays in creating their new trademark sound.
"Havoc in the Forum" is pretty accurately described by its title. Frantic extended riffs are played over heavy bass and a thundering, stompy beat.
"Left Aligned" continues to explore this style (cue bass "chords"), while incorporating more rhythmic irregularities and classic TTNG volume swells/diminishes.
"Yggdrasil "is the first "short track" on this album. It succeeds in pounding weird electronics, a consistent bass riff and ambient noise into your head. By then end, the track is reduced to bass, revealing to the listener a melody they had been listening to all along without realizing it. I can't help but think of Tera Melos's short, more electronic tracks when listening.
By time we reach "Minute Snake" we feel acclimated to TTNGs new style, so in certain ways it seems more like an old familiar song than a new. The extended instrumental harmonic jam at the end helps reinforce this. That being said, it still retains the more in-your-face and march-like percussion that 126.96.36.199.0 seems to feature.
"2 Birds" is the first of three acoustic tracks on this album and is probably the most like older songs such as "I'll forget about you throwing that rock...."
"Nice Riff, Clichard" has a similar feel to "Yggdrasil"....Tera Melos's Melody 1 anybody? Not that they sound the same, but its a cool comparison.
"Triptych" does a nice job of transitioning back to the more up-beat songs, alternating between sections with percussion and without. Following it, "Pymgy Polygamy" is the second acoustic track and perhaps the most intriguing to me; simple yet complex-giving an aura of mystery to something that the listener feels he/she already has "figured out."
"A Different Kind of Tall" and "+3 Awesomeness" close the album with a bang, and are real standout tracks. They represent a perfect marriage between a growth as a band and elements that long time TTNG fans will drool over (the guitar melodies are infectious). In fact, by time the final track hits, named after the album (or vice versa?), it seems more like an afterthought because the listener is still digesting the previous tracks. It is probably a good thing that the final track is so mellow....or else all of our brains would be burnt to a crisp instead of being moderately fried.