Public Memory: Wuthering Drum

Public Memory offers the ghosts of yesterdays beats, but does it offer much that's solid?

- Despite the collective conscious invocation of the name, Public Memory is the output of just one guy, Robert Toher, a man on a strange ascetic journey through monikers and bandmates.

It started with Apse, a multi-man outfit with a post-rock bent; dark in that progressive way. Then there was ERAAS, a stripped back duo that substituted much of the instrumentation for electronica while still leaning heavily on the garage door. Now, finally alone, Public Memory is the singular result of its creator’s skill set and the retroactively obvious vector of its heritage.

Built on the back of a sackful of field recordings, Korg and guitar, Wuthering Drum has a lot of dip-dap trappings, and its first impression is trip-hop evocative, drawing out all the classic names that represents. So, it’s a little worrisome that the ten tracks on offer do little to distance themselves from their derivative hints and actually do very little to even deviate from themselves, one from another. Sure, the snare on one track might boom-snap and another boom-bap, but they all ride the same glacial drift with little more than anecdotal discrepancies in the telling of their stories.

They are beautiful stories though, each independently has a beautiful aesthetic full of carefully crafted beats and purposeful, almost solipsistically focussed refrains. The impact of Toher’s vocals are powerfully spectral in a comforting way, eliciting sepia memories of a time when witch-house was a thing and underground dubstep was full of polite people that couldn’t dance to dissonance and not the shrill experience the public made out of it. The drawback though, is the way the album at large sort of wafts on its way with the vague purpose of a dandelion spore borne on mild gusts of nostalgia. It gets to its destination and you sort of think, wow, nature is great, I sure hope something interesting grows out of it.

Wuthering Drum, then, feels more like a first planting than a bountiful harvest, it may well become something spectacular over time, but right now it’s best quality is its genetic potential. Without its roots, Public Memory does little more than conjure recollections of other seasons’ evergreens.

- Nic Addenbrooke.


Album Details

Album Title: Wuthering Drum
Artist: Public Memory
Record Label: (Felte)