The Trichomes Release Impressive New Album

By Thomas P. Caldwell

A new album by The Trichomes, “Frank’s Dank Super No. 1 Hits” — the band’s first full-length album — packs an hour’s worth of bluesy, somewhat psychedelic, original music that, for us, at times calls to mind the guitar work of Peter Greene and John McVie of Fleetwood Mac, at other times sounding a bit like The Doors with touches of Steppenwolf, along with more modern influences such as Soulive and Consider the Source thrown in.

Album Art By: Emily Louise & Brooke Van GurpThe Seacoast-based band is sometimes playful (as in the Hungarian gypsy-style “Where Will You Run?”), and sometimes cynical, as in “American Dream” which proclaims “The American Dream is just war, poverty, and greed.” With their long instrumental jams that shift in style between the blues and straight-out rock’n’roll, The Trichomes defy classification, but offer a refreshing break from the tech-pop and garage band sound prevalent on the airwaves.

There is a lot going here, with shifting rhythms and breaks, and one style overlying another. “Testify” is great example, with a reggae bass line beneath a blues-rock melody and plaintive vocals.

Even songs that start out in one musical style will move seamlessly to another, and sometimes to many others. “Lydia” is an instrumental piece that begins ominously, then breaks into an almost humorous note progression before settling into a series of musical vignettes.

“American Dream” starts with drum and guitars, one of them with slow, echoing notes, the other showcasing intricate fingerwork, and it moves into a jaunty, supporting background for vocals delivered in hip-hop style, then moving into a heavy, bluesy jam. It ends with the sound of dissolution, as if society were winding down, leaving just a birdsong.

The lyrics, too, range from protest song to blues:

“Now these people who try sound righteous,

they say the war that they want is worth the fight for us,

But what you gotta see is that the true enemy…”

Contrast that with the refrain in “Cold Sweater”:

“It’s the rhythm sinking under your skin,

It’s the reason we commit these sins,

It’s the way you think you’re better than them,

It’s the way you think you’re better than them,

But you just can’t get out of bed,

You’re ashamed about the things that you did.

You’d call back but your phone was dead.

You’d call back but your phone was dead.”

The band really gets down to some tight blues in “Blues for Breakfast” while blending funk, psych rock, and improvisational playing in “Giraffe Milk” which ends with the sound of a meditation gong.

The players are Ian Smith on bass, Eric Kehoe on guitar, Shane Devanney on drums, guitar, and vocals, and Stefan Trogisch on lead vocals, guitar, drums, melodica, and keyboard.

The band’s name? According to Trogisch, The Trichomes is in reference to the hairs on plants like tomatoes which, when one touches them, leaves a sticky residue and smell. “Which is what the goal of our band is,” he said.

28 October 2016

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