If you're a more-than-occasional reader of SPB, then you know that one of my favorite Seattle bands is The Tripwires. So, the release of their debut disc, titled Makes You Look Around, is one of the most anticipated of the year for me.
When Jim from Paisley Pop Records sent me a message last week that he was sending me a copy of the disc, the salivation began immediately. Through their website and myspace page I had heard dribs and drabs of the the record, so I was anxious to hear the whole thing top to bottom.
The disc essentially provides much of what you experience with the live show -- catchy melodies, interwoven guitars with varying degrees of twang, and a rootsy sheen to accompany their pop polish. While there are some differences in dynamics and, less frequently, guitar tones than the live act, if you've seen them in person you'll relate immediately to the recordings.
Of course, if you've seen them live you know that this is meant as a strong compliment, because in that setting you get near perfect performances (even when it's in a "rugged-but-right" kind of way).
I must admit there's something about the Tripwires that speaks to me at my core. Perhaps it's because I grew up in the South and cut my musical teeth on a combination of 1950s rock and 1980s "kudzu pop" and roots pop acts like Scruffy The Cat, Right As Rain, Uncle Green, Jason and the Scorchers, REM and Webb Wilder. The Tripwires thread the perfect musical needle for me -- they're as melodic and personal as Big Star, as tunesmithy as The Byrds, and bring as much boogie to the table as Chuck Berry (whose "Tulane" they cover here).
This is a disc that both the powerpop set and the alt.country folks should be able to hang their hat on.
With Makes You Look Around, The Tripwires have released an album that should grace any number of top-ten lists for the year. But, bigger still and on a more personal note, I think years from now I'm going to look back on this record in the same way I look back on Scruffy The Cat's Tiny Days or Uncle Green's 15 Dryden -- records that flew under the radar of a lot of a whole lot of people but that I can listen to today and enjoy as much as I did 20 years ago. It's got that kind of staying power.
The Tripwires CD release party is being held at the Tractor Tavern on Friday, November 9 with Seattle powerpop stalwarts the Young Fresh Fellows. It's a show to not miss.