Tricot
Repeat


4.0
excellent

Review

by JohnnyoftheWell CONTRIBUTOR (73 Reviews)
March 31st, 2019 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Repeat? Scratch that - good luck repeating this!

Tricot are a well-established presence now, both at the forefront of the Japanese scene and as part of the international math-rock canon. They’ve released three excellent full-lengths and a couple of EPs, toured extensively, and (above all) demonstrated phenomenal chemistry between their core guitar-vox/guitar/bass trio. However, they’ve also focused so much on putting proficiency, accessibility and energy first that stylistic ambition slipped down their list of priorities. All their past albums have touched on experimenting with different styles, and their 2017 release 3 did go slightly further than its predecessors, but the band’s sound is still largely the same from track to track. This is never to their immediate detriment and it’s not as though they’ve exhausted all this sound’s merits, but in the run-up to Repeat I found myself wondering what fresh direction, if any, the band might take for a new release. Part of me loved the sound of a mini-album that played out like a compilation of rock bangers from across their timeline, while it also seemed likely to be an expansion on the more accessible tracks on 3. However, my educated guess was cast in the general direction of more-of-the-same, and so I went into their new mini-album Repeat without particular excitement.

Colour me pleasantly surprised, then, to find that Repeat is a definite progression in sound, drawing on some of 3’s flavours but resolutely expanding on them. The general mix, tone and arrangement here are roughly the same with a notable shift in focus from fidgety guitar parts to more fleshed-out vocal performances across the board - vocalist/guitarist Ikkyu is on top form here, but her bandmates have really stepped up their harmonies. Now, Ikkyu has always had a strong voice, but her often predictable choices of melodies has held her back in the past. Not so on Repeat; it’s telling that Dai Hatsumei / 大発明, the only song interchangeable with Tricot’s past work, is also by fair the least interesting thing here vocally, although it still makes for a decent single. On every other track, Ikkyu finally shines to her full potential, both in delivery and choice of melodies. This is only the first of the innovations on show here.

The heart of this album is the back-to-back combination of BUTTER and Reflection / リフレクション, which really show off Tricot’s new take on their old M.O.. BUTTER feels like a chilled out follow-up to 3’s Sukima, opting for a more downtempo feel and introducing confident vocal harmonies that feel closer to R&B than the band’s traditional emo touchstones. The song reaches a fantastic climax in its guitar-driven bridge, all the more so for avoiding unnecessary fret-burning for a reverb-soaked and utterly satisfying chord progression delivered in a fashion somewhat closer to post-rock. All in all, a fantastic and quite original combination of styles that stands as one of the band’s strongest tracks and stands to be very accessible to new and older listeners.

Reflection / リフレクション carries on in a similar vein but is considerably more complex, rewarding a cursive listen with more of those great harmonies and a seemingly relaxed midtempo feel but intriguing any closer inspection with deceptively jittery guitar parts, a disorienting structure and a constant, unobtrusive dynamic shifts. There’s a real richness of songwriting here, and it takes a lot for a song to command the appeal of both an instant highlight and a deep cut, but this one nails it. Closer Waruguchi / 悪口 follows on directly and brings the album to an equally atmospheric but somewhat more straightforward end. The sequencing here is organic, if you even want to refer to it as such; the last three songs in particular flow together seamlessly, making for further satisfaction on an end-to-end listen.

In truth, I think Repeat might just be the best release Tricot have put out. Their albums are all great, but the full length format brings them into homogenous waters all too easily; the shorter run-time and what seems to be something of a creative push makes this mini-album at once the most digestible and the most consistently gratifying entry into their canon. It does leave a couple of Tricot’s past glories behind (for now) - there are no powerhouse rock songs like Tokyo Vampire Hotel or Noradrenaline, and guitar-hero Motifour isn’t all over the arrangement in the way they used to be - but these seem like worthwhile sacrifices for the ground broken here. Consider me highly excited for whatever comes next…



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user ratings (10)
Chart.
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyoftheWell
Contributing Reviewer
March 30th 2019


13599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Been putting this of a while, but more new stuff coming up soon, so here we are!

Awesome EP, absolutely essential for any Tricot fans and a great place to start for anyone else

Digging: Blonde Redhead - 23

Slex
March 31st 2019


6427 Comments


Been needing to check this band forever where should I start

Digging: Blessed (CAN) - Salt

JohnnyoftheWell
Contributing Reviewer
March 31st 2019


13599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Check out Pool and Pork Ginger then jam the album whichever you prefer is on! But check this regardless, it's really great stuff

Slex
March 31st 2019


6427 Comments


Say no more fam

Uzumaki
March 31st 2019


769 Comments


Yooo this caught me off guard, I wasn’t expecting something like this so soon! Nice review, and I’m gonna have to track this down ASAP.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 31st 2019


8940 Comments


Very well written my man, this did a really wonderful job describing the band and where this record stands in their discog. Gave a really clear picture on things and was just very professionally composed.

As for the music, I've listened to a decent bit of math rock bands and a lot of them get stale for me real quick. Perhaps this has something different to offer?

JohnnyoftheWell
Contributing Reviewer
March 31st 2019


13599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers Mars, glad it got through so clearly! This has top-tier vocal harmonies (which are beyond rare in math rock) so for that alone I'd give it a whirl. Its international release has been pretty belated, so hmu if you have any trouble finding it ;]

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 31st 2019


8940 Comments


Sounds like a trip. I'd recommend Invalids in part for the same reason, the vocal performance there is top-notch.

JohnnyoftheWell
Contributing Reviewer
March 31st 2019


13599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh nice, will give it a jam!

Tyler.
March 31st 2019


16668 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

excited to listen to this. great band

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
April 1st 2019


15471 Comments


Oh damm, didn't know this was out! Great write up man!

Digging: Ioanna Gika - Thalassa

ajcollins15
April 1st 2019


39 Comments


When does it come out anyways?

JohnnyoftheWell
Contributing Reviewer
April 1st 2019


13599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Technically came out around March 20th, but Western circuits are taking a while to catch up :/

Tb1114
April 1st 2019


205 Comments


Is there a new album coming out in the near future? :o

JohnnyoftheWell
Contributing Reviewer
April 1st 2019


13599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No word on it to my knowledge, but their albums so far have been spaced by two years and this EP sounds fresh and inspired, so I wouldn't hold off hope ;]

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
April 1st 2019


25081 Comments


oh shit! nice feature!

Digging: Secret Band - LP2

Uzumaki
April 1st 2019


769 Comments


I wonder if Topshelf will release this.

JohnnyoftheWell
Contributing Reviewer
April 2nd 2019


13599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Probs, at some point - would be weird for them to put out Potage and not this



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