With a name like Trippy Wicked & the Cosmic Children of the Knight, you know it’s got to be stoner.
Cumbersome though their moniker may be, the British trio take a surprisingly rudimentary approach to their sonic jams, eschewing the expected psychedelia in favor of a more basic, stripped-down classic methodology — even going so far as to record the first six of the seven tracks on their self-released demo EP, Lowering the Tone, entirely live in the studio. As the cover above subtly suggests, there’s more to their instrumentation than the proverbial Sunn amps and smashed guitars, although the brass which first makes an appearance on “I Wanna Leave” is understated if anything. Not gimmicky, in other words, or showy in a “See how different we are?” kind of way.
The vocals of guitarist/horn-blower Pete Holland remind of the Black Sabbath studio offerings less than the subsequent bootlegs — the melody and delivery of “Sea Shanty,” despite modern production, echoes as though it were coming straight from 1973 Ozzy — and apart from a section of second track “Hang em High” where Holland adopts a gruffer, more Orange Goblin-style voice, there are few changes. There is enough happening both musically and vocally, however, to make it so that the EP isn’t redundant, and especially around highlight cut “The Water Can Make Us Clean,” the real potential for what Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight can accomplish comes through loud and clear.
It is a dynamic and groovy stoner cut, laced with the fuzz bass of Dicky King and the straightforward push of drummer Chris West. Holland‘s vocals take a gospel turn without falling into Skynyrdisms or other Southern rock clich?s, recounting a familiar “down to the river” narrative of attempted spiritual redemption, and it works in accordance with the shouted “Yo ho!” of “Sea Shanty,” which comes backed by Lowering the Tone‘s catchiest riff. Instrumental closer “Because of Euph,” the only song not recorded live at Farm Factory Studios in last June, is all brass and ultimately serves to add dimension to the Trippy Wicked sound, again showing the potential for what might become of the impending full-length, set to be recorded this summer.
As a live demo — a rarity in these days of simple ProTools overdubs — Lowering the Tone shows Holland, King and West as a trio with character and a clear knack for songwriting who know how to play to their strengths and balance the accessible traditions of stoner and classic rock with enough individuality to stand out in an admittedly overcrowded scene. With an already intriguing approach and plenty of room to mature, Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight may just prove themselves worthy of their name.
Tags: Trippy Wicked, UK, Unsigned bands