(Mascot Records/Mascot Label Group)
I’m fairly familiar with this band’s previous output and I was fortunate enough to see their first headline London show at a packed sweaty Barfly in Camden. The band have now returned with a new musical approach with Ruben Block (vocalist/guitarist) commenting “Anything goes’, that was our motto.”
A meeting with legendary producer Mitchell Froom (Crowded House, Suzanne Vega, Bonnie Raitt) in June 2016 led to the band setting up shop in Froom’s home studio in Santa Monica for a six week period to record this 10-track record entitled ‘Colossus’. In addition, Tchad Blake was enlisted to engineer the album.
Opener ‘Colossus’ is an intense piece with Block choosing to play bass so that they could have a groovier sound with two bass guitars and drums. This means that it is very much in Royal Blood territory as they chant ‘Colossus!’
‘Fleshtight’ sounds like an unused Black Keys song and even Block’s breathy vocals can’t make it sound like anything but.
‘Candy Killer’ has this Baby Driver guitar intro that makes you think that a car will come roaring past but then the almost whispering ‘Candy Killer’ chorus appears and I begin to ask questions about the song’s story ‘Who is the Candy Killer? Is it someone who kills people to steal their candy or do they kill people with candy e.g. a questionable sharp candy cane to the neck for example? Or is the track a social commentary piece about the rise of diabetes and obesity?’
‘Upstairs Box’ reminds me of INXS as Ruben’s electric guitar solo is fast and punchy.
‘Afterglow’ has a dreamy acoustic guitar that has a slight psychedelic Beatles feel (think Yellow Submarine era) and Block’s voice suits the song perfectly. A definite highlight.
‘Breathlessness’ sounds very quiet although Mario Goossens really flows on this number.
‘That’ll Be The Day’ is incredibly eerie courtesy of Froom’s collection of vintage keyboards and is very Muse-esque in delivery. Mind you, when you have supported Muse on their sold-out 50,000 capacity stadium show in Aix-les-Bains, France they are going to be a bit of an influence, even if it is subconsciously.
‘Bring Me Back A Live One’ is a dark chorus as you never quite know if they are talking about an animal or human. The addition of Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) on saxophone seemed to help flesh the song out.
‘Steady Me’ has opted for the creepy fairground vibe and puts images of carousels and clowns in your mind as Paul Van Bruystegem keeps the bass tight. This song is just crying out for a circus music video with the band dressed up in colourful costumes.
Closer ‘Wollensak Walk’ has muffled lead vocals and at this point I wonder if the quiet mix was deliberate for the overall feel of the record or if it was a genuine oversight.
In conclusion, the quiet mixing of the record frustrated me as I know that Triggerfinger are a band that can really crank it up when they want to as their exciting and vibrant live shows prove. From an originality point of view, I could be listening to a record by Muse or The Black Keys for all I know and although ‘Afterglow’ showcases the band’s light and shade it seems that they have played it very safe this time round.
I am so surprised because a man like Mitchell Froom is all about making the song king. With the exception of the aforementioned ‘Afterglow’ I don’t feel like this album has many catchy radio-friendly songs.
I would recommend that you catch a Triggerfinger live show as they really do give it 110% in terms of effort and energy. I find it hard to write this but I am genuinely disappointed with ‘Colossus’ as Triggerfinger are capable of so much more.
Triggerfinger’s new studio album ‘Colossus’ is released by Mascot Records/Mascot Label Group on Friday 25th August 2017.
For more information visit the band’s official website: http://bit.ly/2vSiTgn