Totem are three friends from the West End of London driven by intriguing bass, needle thin riffs and the sardonic vocals of Wire and Television with the lyrics of a young John Lydon declaring class war with an incessant beat and internal debate.
Sea Saw Girl is everything we need at this seemingly intricate International time, with the possibility of a new Cold War firming in the UN freezer this use of abstract sounds and melancholy delivery is a sound of our times; Sea Saw Girl is a cold hard reflection of the world around us.
Far from the screaming punk of the late Seventies, Totem have taken their direction from the later years of punk where outrage became internal and the class war became a schizophrenic battle fought in the dark depths of our own conscious. There are hints of synth-pop and post-punk darkness but the real treat in this track is the delivery of these complexities.
Todd’s vocals are so moronic and fearless that with the math-rock rhythm of Toby’s drums and the pincer like guitar and droning, pounding of Adam’s bass; Totem have built a brick into the new Berlin wall which looms ever closer. There’s an urban knowing and nostalgia that surrounds this band and is seen in their barbed and bedraggled sound which has all the marks of a punk track with all the delivery of a slowed down, sneering cynic.
Totem are seemingly speaking for a generation of misspent youth where the colourful toys of a young man are one by one thrown out of the pram as we long for a more monochrome life. Where the acceptance of inevitable conflict is resolved with nightclub dancing, facing the floor and waiting for the colour to kick back in.