As 2012 came to a close, it was time for the release of the first major recording effort of Southampton Uni’s home grown, indie/math rockers Triassic, with their EP A Thousand Leagues Down. Fronted by charismatic Jonny Vaughan, president of the Alternative and Indie Music (AIM) society, a raw force of nature is unleashed on this record; from the slick, skilful lead guitar by Connor Butler, warm, growling bass of Chris Wanzala-Ryan and snappy, energetic drum-lines from Phoebe Cross, the EP is indie-gold from start to finish… When this project began it was a humble effort from a group of friends to get together and make music. Less than a year on, they have gone from a bunch of mates playing in an attic to thrilling a packed out Talking Heads audience by giving the performance of their lives.
As the opening track begins, you’re lulled into a soft, ambient rise of guitar and harmonies before the song’s iconic, dissonant chords blast forward, immersing you in the tongue-in-cheek ghost tale that is ‘Poltergeist’. First impressions of the track drew me to the expertly-crafted, moody, complex sounds and punchy drums, then the tone changes entirely and pulls you into the warm, yet chilling verse. I love how no instruments are redundant; they’re all used to tremendous effect and only add to the atmosphere, with great use of stops for dynamic emphasis. The song comes full circle at the end where it returns to the original guitar riff and soft vocal harmonies, providing a very approachable entrance to this enchanting record.
Enter track two and you’re hit with the brutally contrasting ‘These Are The Panic Attacks’. This song is an ambitious step into math rock territory and has all the elements of a very well formed indie hit, worthy of the likes of Bloc Party. The sudden bursts are powerful and punchy, and capture the raw essence of their live performances, emulated even further by the vicious gang vocals. This song is so catchy that you’ll be singing along by the end of the first chorus, and you’re ushered to shout out to the final chorus with Jonny’s sharp uptake of breath before it begins. It could perhaps be argued that such an intense song would benefit from being a tad shorter, maybe by finishing at the final gang shouts, but this is very much me nit-picking and it’s very enjoyable to listen to nonetheless.
As this valiant first EP comes to a close, we’re given the funky, foot-tapping ‘Fluoxetine’ that I guarantee will put a smile on your face! I remember seeing an early rehearsal video of this song on YouTube back in Triassic’s formation days and thinking how much of a killer tune it was – now it’s fully realised in this track. The intellect and deep lyrics, about coming to terms with depression, is reminiscent of the Foo Fighters, and has the energy, pace and uplifting feel of The Killers’ ‘Mr. Brightside’. It’s an exceedingly catchy, feel-good song, despite the sombre themes within. The spine-tingling final drop brings this record to an end with the promise of much, much more to come.
Overall, the composition of the record is well thought out; it progresses in a bottleneck structure, from soft, ambient chords, to punchy and hooky, and finally easing you back out, leaving you with a grin. The production leaves a little to be desired at times; the drums and guitars sound very central, but the recordings all have a very warm, rich tone which makes up for this slight plight. Triassic are one of the few local bands that have done “the indie thing” right from day one; the only other band I can think of doing this successfully are #Tags. As a result, they are reaping the rewards – a devoted fan-base, more than 500 likes on Facebook, a killer EP, an EXPLOSIVE launch and nothing but a bright future ahead of them… Watch this band – they’re going places!