Triple A, a four piece band from Plymouth, released their second album Fumes earlier this month. The band describes their sound as a fusion of rock, funk, folk and blues; so you can imagine how unique their sound is. The album shows this through both diverse instrumentation and effects, as well as musical and lyrical content. With madness being the concept for the album, the listener is taken on a tumultuous journey through the human psyche.
The first track, Rainy Days, samples falling rain and dialogue setting up the mood of the album quite nicely. I enjoyed the frequency of rhythmic changes in the song, which I later discovered is a feature throughout most of the album. Another characteristic of the album introduced in the song is how the melodic line brings out dominant function chords; something I’ve found that has become unique to the genre of rock. The Looney of East Street had some interesting parts, specifically at 1:40 and 3:00, but it wasn’t ‘single material’. The next track, named Modern Addictions, had a brief pause at the beginning before the drums came in, which I thought could have been repeated more throughout the song. I also thought that each section of the track could have been shorter but more frequent.
Hunger began with interesting beat groupings that had me attempting to count it out (with little success), although I enjoyed the mental challenge. The rhythm changed extremely frequently in this one which became a little disorientating; however, I found the verses extremely catchy. The band’s musical prowess was on show in Footfalls with the addition of Moriaty giving the song some seriously needed attitude. So? had a very catchy beat, with the guitar part getting less staccato the second time around. I also found myself feeling relief when the guitar solo began. If a song like that didn’t have a ripping guitar solo I would consider it blasphemous.
Fumes continued with the vibe set out in he previous track. I think it needed more obvious transitions into each rhythmic section, like a rest or break. In the minute before the song becomes stable, Fin. contains some very impressive instrumental work. The rhythm around 2:40 was also very catchy. I was surprised when Befriend the Dead introduced the piano, although I enjoyed the use of the instrument there was no warning or lead up. I think if the song was further up in the album it would have sounded less out of place.
The piano was continued in Comatose, with a heavy reliance on fifths which would not usually work in pop music but as rock is based around the interval it worked well. The vocals in this tracks were also the best, with the chordal feel complementing the piano accompaniment well. Phantoms switches from piano to acoustic guitar, with two thirds of the song bringing out the contrast of the acoustic softness to the last third of distorted guitar. I really enjoyed the vocals contributed by Mad Dog Mcrea in Railway Queen, that and the fast pace of the song could very much lend itself to be a single.
My main criticisms of this album are the order in which the songs appear and the length of some of the tracks. In my opinion the best works were in the last half of the album, if it was flipped it may have flowed better. Also, most of the longer songs could have been split into two, with the shorter halves having potential to be interludes. However, the band is extremely talented and clearly have some serious compositional chops. I give the album 7/10.