The Tremens – Lipsicate

The Tremens

An album that starts decently enough, if innocuously, Lipsicate is by the end practically unbearable. This type of guitar-rock is the same kind of thing bar bands have been putting out around the country for the past 15 years. It’s up-tempo and probably quite fun when you’ve had a few beers and get to watch the three goofy guys get up on stage and rock out, but frankly, the band brings absolutely nothing new to the table. If it was just that, I wouldn’t mind so much, but by the end of the album, you’re so sick of their wanna-be glam-rock vocals and straight-ahead punk/rock guitars that it’s barely bearable.
See, that’s the problem with The Tremens: they don’t know what kind of music they want to play. The drums are pretty rocking, but the unoriginal power chords and rhythms lead you to think this is just another straight rock band. Then the singer comes in with his over-the-top glam style vocals, and everything’s out of whack. Occasionally, the music matches the vocals well enough, I suppose, but mostly the vocals sound out of place.
“Double Down” starts with a traditional radio-friendly chord progression, decent percussion, and way too much vocals – oh, and then the guitar solo, can’t forget that. The title track isn’t too bad, showing off a more retro-punk style of the band, with a bit of the MC5 especially evident in the vocals. At times the band suddenly decides they’re more of a bluesy, slightly funky rock band, like on “Hook & Screw,” but they’re really not. Trust me. “Mom’s Home” shows that off to great extent – a miserable, repetitive bluesy number. “Your Trick” brings back the rock, and while it does, I lose interest about halfway through as it gets repetitive with the same chord progression and the band shouting “Your trick!” Horns come in to give “Cute” a bit of a … what, ska? No, but some kind of weird jazzy sound that’s just annoying. None too early, “Un-Scenic” closes the album with a bit more cohesive and interesting, edgy rock sound. I wouldn’t particularly like a whole album of this style, but at least it would be original.
There’s talent here, don’t get me wrong. But a lot of musicians have talent, and talent without inspiration will not get you far. There’s no inspiration here. Instead, The Tremens resuscitate punk and soul and funk and glam and rock all in one messy package that would probably only sound good with about five beers in you. Still, if it was their first effort, I’d say they could have many good things ahead of them. Too bad the band’s been playing since 1998. It doesn’t bode well for the future.