Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight - Going Home

Two and half years on from their monolithic debut and hot on the heels of Superhot Records’ debut release from Stubb, Trippy Wicked hit us with their long awaited sophomore effort. In the interim period these guys have been scaling the heights of the British doom/stoner/sludge scene gaining fans and plaudits aplenty all the way.

As impressive as the debut album, “Moving On” was, I’m glad to say that “Going Home” is a vast improvement in just about every respect. Kicking off with, what for me, is the weakest track of the album, the title track is still a fine piece of rolling heavy rock. Yes heavy rock and not the doomed out dirges that we may have come to expect from the Trippy trio. Christ West’s drumming remains ever impressive as it propels the song forward on a lurching rhythm over which Peter Holland’s guitar and voice soar impressively. Holland’s voice seems to have gained greater depth and power in the years of gigging that allow his vocals to sit in with the music more appropriately. This song is the natural successor to “Sea Shanty” from the debut but just lacking that tune’s sense of whimsy and humour. The addition of Mellotron from Stone axe’s Tony Reed does push the track on to a dramatic and epic conclusion.

Things definitely kick up a gear on “Up The Stakes”, a jerky upbeat number where riff and beats syncopate perfectly. Here Holland shows that he has a real knack for coming up with interesting and inventive vocal melodies while the band as a whole gets their groove on in a way that we’ve not heard them before…and is that a Tony Reed guitar solo I detect in there? Next up the band dip their toes in the doom sound of yore on the intro to “Go Outside” but it’s delivered with a greater sense of swing than the Trippy of two years ago. It doesn’t last, however as the band quickly tear into another electrified mash up of grooves and punky rocking rhythms. The striking thing about the whole album is how the band have pulled their sound together. As opposed to sounding disparate as they did before with the doom songs on one side and the more rocking material on the other, here the tunes in general sound more focussed and energetic with little of the down tempo work that, for me didn’t work quite so well before. The sound now is more fully integrated into a cohesive whole. You can bet your arse when Holland sings the “I don’t want to go outside today” refrain in his best Chris Cornell voice live there won’t be a shortage of voices joining him from the crowd.

One of the album highlights jumps in feet first next. “Ain’t Gonna End Well” is a cheeky supercharged slice of 12 bar rock and roll that harks bark to “Clothes On My Floor” from the debut. This is boogie a la Foghat fed through a 21st Century filter with a truck load of speed for good measure. With a decent video this could be all over Youtube like crabs in a Roman whore house!!! The blues is not far away on the next track either as “I Want Another Drink” comes shimmying in on a slinky acoustic before transforming into a belligerent alcohol fuelled stomper with Holland sounding genuinely dangerous if he’s denied his fix. The additional horns in the mix serve to emphasise the drunken swing of the tune.

Trippy Wicked can always be relied on to hit us with something quirky and here “Hillbilly Moonshine” takes care of that riding on a grinding, inbred motherfucker of a riff and vocals that make liberal mention of “missionary”, “69” and “reverse cowgirl”…I think we know where these boys is coming from here. This is literally cock rock for the 21st Century fed through a straw chewing, dungaree wearing bucktoothed filter. As if it hasn’t become apparent, alcohol is a central theme running through the veins of this album so it comes as no surprise to learn the next track is “Pour Me Another One”. This is as close as Trippy come to straight ahead, classic hard rock with a simple yet deceptively twisted riff and a pulse rate lifting 4/4 beat.

As if Pete Holland’s vocals don’t already bear comparison to classic Soundgarden, the twisted groove of “Change Your Mind” could have sat very comfortably alongside much of the material on “Louder Than Love” with the riff and West’s drumming sounding as though the band have learnt the song from a scratched vinyl copy…clever bastards!!! I have to say, although this is a decent song it doesn’t quite get my blood flowing like the rest of the tracks on offer here, instead sounding a touch languid and lazy compared to some of the other gems the band dig up to share with us. Finally, as if to round the evening of drunken debauchery of we are glad to get “home” as a Mellotron figure, once again courtesy of Tony Reed greets us at our front door and leads us in to safety to fall comatose into bed.

Trippy Wicked have, without a shadow of doubt, upped their game considerably since their debut as this album represents a serious quantum leap in improvement in terms of both song writing skills and overall performance. The album’s production, undertaken by the band themselves, is also a vast improvement on the debut being far brighter and punchier though I could argue that the guitars might benefit from a little less bark and fuzz and a little more clarity to allow the riffs to shine through and the bass could be a little more distinct and up front to prop up the weight of the music. This will definitely be one of the finer albums to emerge from a UK band this year and, while not quite a cast iron classic, it’s certainly a huge step closer to the one they inevitably will create in time.


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