Topographies grapples with existentialism in their icy post-punk debut LP, Ideal Form, out today via Funeral Party. The album’s concept revolves around “the projections human beings place upon experience and the impossibility of a perfectly realized existence.”
Helmed by singer/songwriter/guitarist Gray Tolhurst (yes, son of The Cure’s Lol Tolhurst), Topographies evolved its sound from shoegaze and dreampop towards a more cohesive post-punk infused project over the course of several EPs and singles. It veers into goth territory at times, but never strays into theatrics. With this album, Topographies unfurls wistful, hopeful music, all the while weaving a haunting tapestry of echoing psychedelia, eerie synths, and poignant lyrics.
Topographies, comprised of Tolhurst, Jérémie Rüest (guitar and synth), and Justin Oronos (bass and synth), cobbled themselves together on the San Francisco local scene (and in the case of Oronos, Craigslist).
The band started recording Ideal Form last November, with the help of engineer Chris King (Cold Showers). When COVID started gaining traction, the album was nearly finished with mixing and mastering. Ultimately the band were album to finish the album, working with the label Funeral Party to spearhead its release.
Post-Punk.com interviewed Gray Tolhurst this autumn, where he reflected upon the fluidity of his music tastes. His father introduced him at a tender age to the likes of CAN and Captain Beefheart, but The Cure evaded his radar until much later. Grappling with the weight of his father’s fame led him to avoid getting too mired in the influence of his father’s own band, but soon things clicked into place: “I was like, oh my god! I should’ve listened to this years ago. I love this,” he said. “…I just kinda skirted around this idea, and once I listened to the album I thought ‘this makes total sense.’ I kinda switched my tune once I heard Faith and Pornography, I was like yeah that makes sense. Other bands I like sound a certain way, and I didn’t realise that connection.”
Topographies’ Ideal Form Post-Punk.com’s album of the month for December 2020.
The record is out now, listen below and purchase here.