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Although I'm a firm believer in the stripped down, dark and minimal rough edges of garage bands etc, that is definitely not a knock against arena rock and power pop. These genres are often catchy, exciting, uplifting and fun, and sometimes that exactly what we want out of rock and roll. It's a little strange really because for a long time the arena rock and power pop bands were typically the bands that first caught my attention while the rougher garage rock and more experimental bands took longer to sink in, but become more of my favorites. Still, both have a definite place in my musical landscape to this day as sometimes I want something dark, and other times I want something more positive, uplifting and fun... an anthem.
I would definitely call Telling on Trixie, a band out of New York I've been listening to online for a little while now, anthemic, although not necessarily in pure arena rock/power pop fashion. The first few bars of the first track I listened to by them had me placing them in line with Rush, for some odd reason (it's really not an accurate description at all... not even close), but the more I've listened to, the more depth and catchy pop flavors I've found combining to make for an engaging pop/rock band that is worth checking out.
The first song I heard from the band was "Twisted in Knots", a pretty straight forward rock song with a vocal style that is what I think reminds me of Rush, but when the chorus kicks in, it's light, uplifting and catchy making for a song that seems pretty tailor made for positive sing along crowds. It's a catchy song, I was impressed, but not really amazed as power pop songs come and go like crazy with only a few really sticking in my mind. "Orion's Light" is a song that stuck though... Slow building with soulful lyrics that just seem to hang in the air and soar as the song grows. Then subtle guitar parts echo that same feeling with pushing into a massive power pop climax just like you'd expect from such a song. It is truly spine tingling at some moments and would surely earn some swaying and lighters on the arena tour.
That was enough for me to want to check out the rest of their album and see what else they had to offer and there are some interesting moments throughout. "Devil's Best Friend" shows the band channeling their inner funk band, but also features a great guitar lead and a catchy feel. "Dumb Boy" has a funky feel as well, but is more of a swagger than funk, with some soul coming through in the chorus. The slow rocker "Angel's Fall" features some pop lyrics, chorus and overall feel that I can see garnering it lots of radio play. "Atlantis" is a slower burning rock anthem as well, again with some great guitar work and soulful lyrics. Then there is "Your Silence" an acoustic track that has a bit of a haunting feel that really adds some melancholy and depth and "Halfway Back to Sane" is a pretty straight up rocker that's again just really catchy in it's chorus. "Circles in the Sky" a harder more progressive rocker that again might show a little Rush influence and along with "Orion's Light" was one of the songs that stood out to me.
I wouldn't exactly call Telling on Trixie groundbreaking as although they do seem more grounded at times than some similar outfits, these ideas don't exactly seem new...but aren't rehashes either... more so reinterpretations... and there blend of funk is a feel many bands can't pull off, but they handle it well. Also they definitely do have a flair for adding that bit of an epic feel to some of their songs.. anthemic I called it earlier... slightly pushing them towards the melodramatic at times. Still, those things are not really bad things and are never over the top. Also, there is enough soul in the vocals and depth in the songwriting that these songs do come off as a little bit more than just catchy anthemic rock, making Telling on Trixie a band to keep an eye on in the future.
Overall, I'd say Telling on Trixie is a great band to check out if you're looking for some catchy power pop/rock with a little more than your typical band. I wasn't completely floored because there may be lots of similar bands out there that I've heard before, but these guys seem to have a lot of genuine talent, soul and creativity to be a cut above a lot of the rest and really make some great music.
You can of course listen to a few tracks from Telling on Trixie on their myspace page here: http://www.myspace.com/tellingontrixie
But... you can listen to their entire debut album on their website here: http://www.tellingontrixie.com/news/
And you can buy that debut album from CDBaby here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/tellingontrixie