Thursday, May 28, 2015

Album Review: Trixter - Human Era

As nostalgia has taken full hold of our collective conscience, and seemingly every bit of pop culture from the past has been resurrected, there comes a point where it's all too much.  Certain things cry out to be brought back to life, because they were seminal, while others leave you scratching your head, wondering why they were chosen to receive a second life.  No offense to Trixter, but I had that reaction upon seeing that they are back, two decades after their biggest fame.  I have nothing against the band (I really don't remember them from back then), but I fail to see why there was a pressing need for them to return.  Still, I'm not one to hold a grudge over reasons that aren't important, so let's move on to the record.

Just listening to the opening number, it surprises me that Trixter was a band that put out records in the 90s, because their sound is straight off the Sunset Strip circa 1988.  That said, "Rockin' To The Edge Of The Night" is a tasty little number, with a riff that moves the way George Lynch's old material did, and a pretty good attempt at an anthemic chorus.  It's a total throwback to the olden days, but when they're done this well, that's not a problem.

"Crash That Party" doesn't do what the title suggests, as I can't think of a party where it would be a bit hit.  The riffs are more aggressive, but the tempo feels a bit forced, and the chorus is weak for a party anthem.  Perhaps the song's title is a reference to it knowing it wasn't good enough to be invited on its own merits.  "Not Like All The Rest" still doesn't have a big enough hook, but it carries a tone more in line with a Fountains Of Wayne song, which makes it infinitely more appealing. 

As the record moves along, we get these same point reinforced over and over again.  Trixter is trying to make a highly energetic record, but they've missed out on one of the key components to making a record that bounces along with an infectious attitude; hooks.  They don't need to be sugary pop, but the best hair metal and hard rock from their time-frame still had elements that were deeply memorable.  These songs are lacking that element.  The guitars don't play that one riff that sticks out in your mind, and the percussion never hits upon a drum beat that can drive a song, which puts everything in the hands of the vocals.  There are a few songs here, like "Every Second Counts" and "Beats Me Up", where Trixter delivers, but the majority of these songs are in need of a big melody to finish them off.

The record isn't helped by putting possibly the three weakest songs right at the beginning, which tempts you to tune out before the better material hits.  The middle of the record is good, but the difference between records now and records during Trixter's heyday is that there's no room for mediocrity anymore.  There are so many more records to listen to on a daily basis that, to massacre a cliche, filler is killer.  Unfortunately for Trixter, "Human Era" has too much filler placed in the wrong place for this to be considered a great record.  Once you get past the first fifteen minutes, the rest of the album is good stuff.  I'm just not sure I can get past it.

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