Feel the buzz! Can ya feel the buzz?!
The first minute of Tripod is going to wake you up. As an experiment, substitute the opening cut, "Jerome's Spotlight," for your next kuppa kawfee. This NY-based power trio works four different angles dynamically, strategically, often violently. Steve Romano portrays the jazz~rock drum god who idolizes Neil Peart and Lenny White, equally. Keith Gurland stars as the jazz ensemble defector who works his alto & tenor saxophones into melody-mangling frenzies, and strikes up a friendship with two rogue musicians called Romano & Bahr. Vocalist Clint Bahr's delivery is anything but trite—and he plays 12-string bass. Not 8-string bass, 12-string bass. Four three-string clusters, which make for a markedly deep, growling tone that easily mimicks distorted 6-string guitar chords—and for this, he is a wanted man. But back to a certain song concerning the fugitive trio's secret connection, Jerome: the first minute is positively electrifying. On first listen it sounds oddly cacophonic, but it will be a different matter on RII. Romano's sphere of influence is huge, while Bahr alternates between a Les Claypool sort of vocal style, and a more straightforward style which reveals a very pleasant midrange voice.
TriPod are doubtlessly a rock band; there are moments of subtlety and serenity, but these are suprisingly sparse! Oh, one may recall that other major-label sax~bass/vocals~drums trio from the early 90s. Morphine, were they called? TriPod makes those guys sound like wimps, by comparison.
Without resorting to remarks like "David Sanborn/Tom Scott/Michael Brecker on acid," etc., track two—"Trip The Light"—sheds light on how much Gurland's sax takes on the lead guitar role with honking "bursts," melodic passages, and forceful trilling. Very inspiring, to say the least. "Dance Of The Kabuki" has a Rush sort of quality, with its rhythmic strutting, bridges, flareups, and monstrous drum rolls and double bass shenanigans. "No Diamond Cries" is less tense, smoother, and wouldn't make a bad single, at all, with its nicely staccato bassline and slightly by-the-book power drumming.
"East Flatbush" is a vaguely trip-hoppy vocalless interlude that leads into the rather punkish "Buzz." Gurland's sustained alto sax notes are the most shrill, yet. The 2nd verse reminds me of a certain Butthole Surfers song (only for several bars).
Now "Conversation Drag" is quite interesting: Bahr's bass takes on a distinctly "Stranglehold" feel (yes, that song), while the chorus emulates a mid-period
Blue Oyster Cult song with an echo effect—it simply has to be a nod. Proving they're not two-trick ponies, TriPod also serves up several instrumentals in the form of the atmospheric "Ghosts," and two in-studio improvisations, "Smoke & Mirrors" and "Fuzz." "Smoke" finds the trio coaxing some B.L.U.E.-like textures from their inner muses, and "Fuzz" is named after Bahr's grainy, rippling tone on this cut—it's quite savory. A nice TriPodly instrumental that's in-line with everything before it. And while this is a magnificent band, "Fashion" could have been left off; this is a bizarrely trite number with a shockingly lame chorus that makes one wonder why it was recorded. This isn't a perfect world, as we know, and that's why track select—as in skip—functions exist today.
All-in-all, one raucous, roarin' ride! Nothing "soothing" about Tripod unless you'd like your aggressive side massaged! Perhaps we'll hear from other power trios which sub guitars & keyboards for other lead instruments.