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Triclops! - 'Helpers on the Other Side'

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating



'Helpers on the Other Side'

Alternative Tentacles

Back in 2007, Triclops! hit the scene with an ambitious EP. Cafeteria Brutalia presented a punk/psychedelic/noise band that lifted equal influences from Jesus Lizard and Jane’s Addiction and plunged them into a trip through lush, dense, frantic musical compositions that were varied and never tiring. http://punkmusic.about.com/od/reviews/fr/Triclops.htm

A few years and a few albums later, Triclops! has released their second full-length on Alternative Tentacles. Helpers on the Other Side finds the outfit (formed by members of The Fleshies, Lower Forty-Eight, Bottles & Skulls and Victim's Family) at the top of their game musically. Sometimes it seems, though, as they continue to pursue their sound, some of their fury has been displaced by musical ability.

Once again, the band has created music that aren’t done justice by being referred to as songs; these are full-blown musical compositions. The album is only six tracks long, but it runs over 40 minutes, with two songs (“Glaciers (Cry of the Modern Neanderthal)” and “Homage to Monte Cassino (Red)”) breaking nine minutes each.

It’s territory that Jane’s Addiction pursued with their classic track “Three Days,” making songs that are purely epic, full of solid transitions that results in tunes that ebb, flow and build to broad, full completion. And Triclops! excels at this.

Frontman John Geek is always a joy to hear, as he warbles his way through broad images with a sound that’s pure Perry Ferrell and David Yow combined.


Image courtesy of Triclops!

The backing band is denser than ever, too, and has picked up some musical tricks this time around, in the form of off-kilter guitar noise that would make Thurston Moore proud and pure musical chaos that the Butthole Surfers could have been responsible for when they were in their prime.

For all that the album does, though, the band sometimes seems like they may have traded some of the fury for pure musical proficiency. While the longer musical compositions are so musically tight you could bounce a quarter off them and get smacked right between the eyes with it, and they build musical soundscapes that sound 80 miles wide, sometimes it seems to be lacking some of the pure brutality from the original EP.

This by no means suggests that that energy is missing elsewhere on the album. The shorter tracks (“Brown Summer” and “Until All the Threads Are Stripped”) are raw frenetic blasts of noisy punk rock, and the longer tracks do delve into moments of pure angry musical genius, and upon repeated listens (which are always necessary for a band this dense) offer up a more refined energy than is readily apparent at first. Just don’t expect to “get” Triclops! on your first listen to this album.

Then again, that’s probably exactly what they want.

Track Listing:
1. “Glaciers (Cry of the Modern Neanderthal)” (Listen/Download)
2. “Brown Summer” (Listen/Download)
3. “Until All the Threads Are Stripped” (Listen/Download)
4. “Send Conan Home” (Listen/Download)
5. “Homage to Monte Cassino (Red)” (Listen/Download)
6. “With SARS, I’ll Ride The Wind”
5. “Homage to Monte Cassino (Red)” (Listen/Download)

Release Date: March 16, 2010

Disclosure: A review copy of this release was provided by the publicist. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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