Tricot


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THE (2013), 6.5/10
AND (2015), 7/10
3 (2017), 6/10
Black/ Makkuro (2020), 6/10
10 (2020), 5.5/10
Jodeki/ Good Work (2021), 6.5/10
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Japanese all-girl band Tricot (vocalist and guitarist Ikumi "Ikkyu" Nakajima, guitarist Motoko "Motifour" Kida and bassist Hiromi "Hirohiro" Sagane) debuted with the five-song EP Bakuretsu Turiko-san (2011) and the six-song EP Elementary School Students and the Universe (2012).

The album THE (2013) shows the influence of both Slint's post-rock and the Japanese prog-rock band Number Girl in energetic and slanted songs like Pool Side and Oyasumi (syncopated guitarwork and intense drumming) leading to the atmospheric and dilated post-ballad Artsick, to the dreamy post-lullaby Swimmer, and to the emotional outburst of CGPP. Jazz and Brazilian overtones infiltrate Ochansensu-su. Omotenashi sounds like an accelerated and cheerful version of the Art Bears' prog-rock Tobe and 99.974 mix punk frenzy, guitar noise and a catchy refrain.

AND (2015) is a more ebullient work that sets aside the more cerebral aspects of their post-rock. Hence the relentless punk-pop fever of Noradrenaline, the breezy and dissonant rant of Hashire, the effervescent pseudo-Caribbean dance E, the seismically hard-rocking Colorless Aquarium. This explosive section of the album ends with the more melodicKieru. But what comes after is surprisingly a conversion to funk-rock with Kobe Number and even to jazz-rock with the piano-driven Pieeen A N D Ver. (the instrumental tour de force of the album). Niwa is a spectacular fusion of the two styles, funk-jazz partying and punk-rock vehemence. Unfortunately the album, generally more cohesive and mature than the debut, contains a few duds.

Following the EP Kabuku (2016), the more austere 3 (2017) sticks to the general principle of the previous albums: classic vocals over chaos of strumming and drumming, for example in Munasawagi and Setsuyakuka. But the album also takes liberties towards a more poppy sound, especially in Namu, a childish and surreal ditty (that could be the standout), and in 18 19, a catchy nursery rhyme. Tokyo Vampire Hotel is the one song that retains the volcanic energy of AND. They are all dressed up with intricate drumming and noisy guitars. The agonizing elegy Echo and the funky Yosoiki (another highlight) take further detours.

After the EP Repeat (2019) and the infectious single Overflow (2019), the album Makkuro/ Black (2020) boasts the danceable Uno Sano (one of their most elegant creations), and the mutant lullaby Naka (first lethargic, then cabarettish, then operatic), besides the usual dose of insatiable stamina (Mitete) and funky hysteria Afureru (that ends in a bacchanal). Half of the album is taken up by ballads that rarely succeed, but Abunaku Nakunai Machi sounds like a more mature version of Echo.

10 (2020), released in the same year, their most accessible album yet, opens with one of the their boisterous classics, Omae, and one of their most melodic ditties, Samanaitotaun/ Summer Night Town. The album indulges in some of the most naive moments of their career, like the childish Warp, the soulful and tiptoeing Fried Rice, and the romantic-Caribbean Hako (with delightful vocal effects), as if Tricot were making fun of Korean and Japanese teenidol-pop. Tricot carefully removed the edgy aspects of their sound on this album. Unfortunately the second half shows the limitation of this strategy, as the songs begin to sound all the same, or like yet another variation on the mellow ballad Echo (Laststep).

Jodeki/ Good Work (2021) returned to a harder and more aggressive sound: the noisy and dissonant Bakuro, the chaotic and deranged Inai, the psychedelic blues Yoru no Mamono, and especially the catchy volcanic eruption of Supasama/ Super Summer; but it is mostly an uncertain album, torn between the mellow pop of Kayoko and the funk-rock of Esa ni mo Narenai, between the tender Itsumo and the funky novelty Jodeki, with vocal harmonies from the 1950s (the catchiest number here).

(Copyright © 2021 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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