Trigger cut is a really good band that plays their professed genre of ‘noise rock’ really well. And I’m guessing they’re a lot of fun to see live. They’ve got their shit together, they know their base well, the guitar is aptly abrasive and catchy in all the right ways, and the rhythm section of Daniel W. And Matt Dumil is unstoppably professional. And god bless ’em for finding my stupid little blog in nowhere New York all the way from Stuttgart, Germany.
But they’ve got a fatal problem, which is that everything they’re doing has been done before. By many different people in many different bands for about 30 years now. Like I said they know their genre (which they proudly call ‘noise rock’ but could easily also be called post-hardcore, hard edged math, or some other variant), but they clearly know and worship it too well to put their own stamp on it.
That’s not to say they don’t have specific favorite bands they imitate. Specifically, they are undoubtedly huge Steve Albini acolytes. Vocalist and ‘treble guitarist’ ‘Ralph Ralph’ may not have a voice quite as deep and menacing as Albini, but at times it sounds as though he’s directly imitating every vocal idiosyncracy made famous by Albini (at times there’s also some David Yow). I’d say if they had more of an eclectic style that melded more noise rock groups as opposed to worshipping just a few they might stand out a little more from the pack than they do…
I couldn’t find a lyric sheet on the site, but all the words are in English (why do European bands always sing in English? Seriously?). And it certainly does sound like he’s spewing a lot of Albini-esque sarcastic criticism of everything (I think I can make out something about making fun of Munich hipsters which sounds cool). But the first song starts off with the words “you are so beautiful” and I wondered if this was gonna be a cover of Fugazi’s Margin Walker (which would be have been a really interesting take). But with titles like ‘Solid State’, ‘Transmitter’, and ‘Nutcracker’, I gotta wonder if they like Albini WAYYYYYY too much… He literally quotes lines, sometimes in the voice of the great Albini, like ‘in a minute’ in a Steve Albini voice on Oxcart, or repeating ‘Transmitter’ softly 3 times, than screaming it 3 times more. Wtf is a ‘coffin digger’ anyway? The words sound like they have a good command of English, but without actual lyrics I really can’t tell. It’s possible they cut and pasted a bunch of June of 44 and Shellac lyrics together without regard for meaning other than sounding like good typical noise rock one liners…
Don’t get me wrong, this has nothing to do with the fact that they’re from Germany imitating what I’d say is a specifically midwestern American genre and I don’t understand what they’re saying. I’ve heard a number of groups that sound like this from England, from Japan, and now I’ve heard this band from Germany that flew all the way to Chicago to be recorded… and they could be the new say, Mcluskey, STTTNNNNGGG! (or however that’s spelled I can’t even find them on Google anymore), some other British band that sounded like Mcluskey I also can’t remember the name of (but enjoyed in a day so long ago that if I ever found it itd be on a ripped cdr from stolen soulseek files), or any other band that never found their own voice that won’t be remembered unless they somehow market themselves hard enough that people that’ve never heard Shellac or the Jesus Lizard hear them and think they’re brilliant and original.
But the truth is, for now anyway, they don’t bring anything new to the table. Especially to people like myself that have been listening to noise rock genre bands for thirty years now and have heard hundreds of bands like them from everywhere. Which is not to say there isn’t plenty of room for originality within the genre or that there aren’t innovative bands around the globe; Ottawa’s Metz is relentlessly driving and at times too abrasive to listen to but similar enough in song style that you get used to the abrasiveness. Atlanta Georgia’s Whores. (combining noise rock with a rich vein of sludge) is beyond intense and has endless rage for every minute they have to be awake. London’s Hey Colossus is incredibly diverse and unpredictable. There are plenty more examples of noise rock groups that are doing innovative new things with the genre. Trigger Cut really just needs to get in touch with what they can do with the by now well trodden 30 year old genre that no one else can, or they’re doomed to remain in the pack of good, hardworking, adherents of the genre that are such huge fans that they’re practically a cover band.
Thanks for the album guys. You’re a great band and I hope you find your voice someday, but on this album it sounds like you’re using someone else’s.