steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Tripwires

"Makes You Look Around" CD

Paisley Pop

Genre: pop, rock

Seattle, WA

Nov 12, 2008

In The Minus 5, lead guitarist John Ramberg was forced to take a back seat to main songwriter Scott McCaughey. Certainly, McCaughey is no slouch, but it makes sense that eventually Ramberg would want to try heading something up on his own. This brings us to The Tripwires, an admirable pop band with a penchant for churning out classic, even old-fashioned hooks. As the press release will attest to, Makes You Look Around is a rock & roll record, but it is the pop that bleeds through most blatantly.

The best way to conceptualize this record is to examine its influences. A lot of Makes You Look Around seems heavily predicated on a Big Star influence; "I Don't Care Who You Are" and "I Hear This Music" exude a joyous Radio City influence (think "September Gurls," most obviously), while "Lessonpony" and "Arm Twister" have the melodic quality of Bell and Chilton's more rock-heavy material. The album's two most successful songs, meanwhile, succeed due to their undeniable infectiousness. "Big Electric Light" is a massive, blast-it-from-the-rooftop pop anthem, steeped in AM pop melody but endowed with a modern glisten. Meanwhile, "Spins the Wrong Way" is destined to be hummed eternally - its sinewy verse revels in melodic bliss, although the chorus can't match its simple beauty.

Taken together, Makes You Look Around is a pretty stunning pop record, as far as pop records go. Relying heavily on the past, Ramberg has penned a series of twelve catchy songs (excluding the Chuck Berry cover), some of which rock and some of which are more inclined to roll. The results are purely entertaining. The Tripwires may not defy convention, but they do a hell of a job playing by the rules.

the tripwires' myspace


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 13 tracks, distributed by the label, released Nov 12, 2007]