Tricot is a band that has captured the hearts of many not just in Japan, but around the world. Having toured Asia, Europe, and North America within the past two years, they have been able to have their music heard by many fans and rock enthusiasts in general. With their unique style, they have been dubbed “the band that is making math rock cool again” on more than one occasion. Such attention got them signed to Big Scary Monsters Records this year, a UK based independent label, with which they will be releasing their newest album, 3, on May 19. In Japan, though, it releases two days earlier, on May 17.
We recently got to listen to the new album ahead of its release, and in it was music full of maturity and evolution. The jump in improvement from the band two years ago and today is evidently huge, but their new sound still retains those core elements that enchanted fans that have followed them since their beginnings. However, this new album is sure to be a pleasant listen for new fans as well.
The first track of the album is Tokyo Vampire Hotel, which is an uncommon name for a tricot track title. Nonetheless, the track is the big opener of the album, and as such it is an aggressive and fast-paced song. For a moment, The beginning of the song made me believe it was a new version of Plastic, from their Kabuku EP, as the melody sounds quite similar, in a good way. Ikkyu’s vocals shine in this song, setting the mood for the rest of the album. The only bad point of this song is that it’s too short! Two and a half minutes is simply not enough! The second song, Wabi-Sabi, was a completely different song from the last, though; this was a bit more melodic and calming than Tokyo Vampire Hotel, and also was the first appearance of Kida’s and Hirohiro’s harmonious backing vocals in this album. The best way to describe Wabi–Sabi is as “a classic tricot song,” as it has every element that they brought with their first releases back in 2010 and 2011.
The third song is a prime example of tricot’s evolving sound. Sure, they still remember how to make a good old-fashioned “tricot song” like Wabi–Sabi, but they are also aware that they need to bring in diversity to their sound in order to retain that freshness as the years pass, and Yosoiki is the epitome of that freshness. Hirohiro’s bass guitar begins the song with some funky licks, which foreshadows a different side of tricot for the rest of the song, and to the album as a whole. The first verse is also a bit different from the typical verse we are used to hear from Ikkyu, and it is a welcome addition. The guitar plays a more subtle role in this song, but it makes you feel good and warm, like the type of guitar that just makes you want to stop everything you’re doing and dance around your room.
The fourth song is one of the title tracks of this album, DeDeDe, and thus is a song that exudes that classic tricot guitar riff, and unexpected changes in rhythm from guitars and vocals alike. This is another song that could be categorized under the “classic tricot” sound alongside Wabi-Sabi. Ikkyu’s vocals enchant you from the very first second, grasping you firmly and not letting you walk away from this album easily.
Next was Sukima, another song that reminded me of their Kabuku EP, as it has a melody reminiscent of Nichijou_Seikatsu. Hirohiro’s bass once again brings a funky feel to the song, and is the best part of the song, in my opinion. The overall calm ambiance that this song illustrates is a perfect song to listen to on a lazy Sunday evening with a nice cup of coffee, since a big chunk of this song is without vocals, letting the bass and guitar take the spotlight. However, that is not to say Ikkyu’s vocals are invisible in this song, her vocals shine through here as well, especially near the end.
The sixth song, Pork Side, is a brand new prelude song to the already released Pork Ginger. The song only lasts a minute, and is essentially the same song as Pork Ginger, expect with the vocals and instrumentals drowned out, making it seem like you’re listening to the song on the radio. The instrumentals are also calmer than those found in Pork Ginger, with simple strums replacing the original guitar, giving a more serene sound than the original song.
The eighth song was Echo, and it is another song that brings a fresh breath of air to the traditional tricot sound, this time coming from the guitars. The riffs for this song were not as complex as their others. This song is an obvious ballad, and it allowed for another glimpse of the new tricot to leak through. Echo was followed by 18, 19, and it brought us back again to the traditional tricot, but the vocals were different. I can’t place my finger on what it was, but there was a definite difference in Ikkyu’s vocals in this one. Maybe it was the melody of the song, or maybe it wasn’t, but that’s the beauty of tricot’s music. Sometimes you can’t explain what you’re hearing, you can only feel it. We also get to listen to a bit of Ikkyu’s english as she sang the numbers 18 and 19 for a while, which adds an extra cute little plus for the song. The tenth song, Namu, is one of those songs where there are vocals, but not any actual lyrics. The song instead is filled with the members’ humming and constant repeating of the word “namu,” bringing back memories of songs like Ana mein from their first mini-album, Bakuretsu panie-san, or Ochansensu-su, from their first album, T H E.
We finally get to the eleventh song, Munasawagi, and by now I can figure out that this new album brings a lot of new things to the table while still retaining the core aspects that make tricot great. Munasawagi is a pretty straightforward track, with the same sound that was set in stone by its preceding tracks. The guitars shine, the vocals keep bringing that sense of freshness within the familiarity, and I can already say that I fell in love with tricot all over again. But there are still two tracks left, so we continue. The second-to-last track, Setsuyaku–ka, is a song that every tricot fan should be familiar with already, as it was the title track of their last release, Kabuku. The song fits well with the rest of the album, and does not feel out of place.
The last song is another one of the title tracks of this new album, and as such got its own music video. Melon Soda ends this album on a great high, and also ends it with another glimpse of freshness from the band. It’s not as upbeat as other tracks, but it still has that happy vibe that makes you bob your head as you listen, making this a great closing song to an amazing album. This song is the type of song that you would listen as you walk down the street, putting you in a good mood and making you anticipate a great day ahead. However, that feeling is short-lived, as, just like the first song, it is too short, being 15 seconds short of being a three-minute track.
There is not much left to say about this album, except reiterate how great it is. It’s clear that tricot is still going strong and has much more juice left in the creative department, which only serves to make me wonder how they will surprise me when their next album releases. Everyone should keep a close eye on these girls, and maybe even go to their European tour, which begins this upcoming August.