You never really know what direction a song by tricot is going to take, even when you're more than halfway through it. The trio, which formed in Kyoto in 2010, has won over listeners both in Japan and abroad thanks to a zippy, start-stop-pivot approach to rock music that turns every song they write into a topsy-turvy affair. Yet despite the unpredictable approach they take to songwriting, tricot fill their songs up with shouted verses and sticky hooks. As nutty as they get, they make sure to hit the important points.
They’ve managed to tour abroad, and build up a fan base globally, and this Friday they release 3, their, uh, third full-length album on Topshelf Records, a prominent label in the contemporary rock world. Ahead of its release, get to know tricot and their music.
The group consists of Ikkyu Nakajima, Motoko Kida and Hiromi Sagane, who have been the core of the band since they came together in their hometown of Kyoto. Others have passed through — most tenured being Kazutaka Komaki on drums — but today it’s just the three creating songs. Although the group themselves have said they never knew the style existed, many of their early songs feature a math rock edge, full of tight guitar playing and sudden tempo changes. Early songs used quick-shifts in time as a way to keep energy going, but they also practically deconstructed the style on songs such as “Ochansensu-su,” below:
It’s easy to focus on tricot’s tight playing, primarily because they are great at it, making sudden shifts in speed seem like they are just warming up. Yet zooming in too much on their virtuosity might result in missing the raw energy Nakajima’s vocals convey. It has always been present in their music, but it felt especially pronounced on their second album A N D, which really highlighted the passion her singing gets across. “E” (below) practically breaks at time because her voice approaches a scream.
Given its greater international release, 3 feels like the best gateway into the group, with advanced songs such as “DeDeDe” highlighting both the vocals and the pinballing music. Yet it also features some of their most straightforward, zippy rock numbers to date, including “Melon Soda,” which you can check out below. Whether familiar with tricot or diving in for the first time, there newest collection is bound to charm. Or at least leave you dizzy.
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