Fact: There are more letters in the band moniker Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight than there are letters in all the names of its component musicians; Pete Holland (guitar/vocals/horns), Chris West (drums) and Dicky King (bass). The final tally, as I count it, is 43 to 29. Not necessarily relevant to a discussion of their music — or maybe it is, depending on how you look at it — but certainly something The Melvins or Kyuss never had to deal with.
The maximalist-bannered trio release their first full-length in the form of Movin? On, which takes several of the cuts from the Lowering the Tone demo EP and revitalizes them via re-recording. Holland, West and King holed up at Chuckalumba Studios in Dorset (Electric Wizard) for a week — no small feat for an unsigned band on a budget to book that much studio time — and the output justifies the probable expense. Listening to the new version of ?Sea Shanty,? it?s easy to see why Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight would want to revisit it in this context.
Their songwriting is memorable if self-contained, and by that I mean I put the record on to listen to it almost immediately when it came in, then left it for a couple days, and having only heard the songs once before when I went back to it, recognized most of them immediately. Catchy tracks like ?Fire? — with what might be a Twin Peaks reference in the chorus — ?Echoes,? ?The Water? and ?Southern? find the UK rockers adopting a range of personalities, from heavy stoner riffers to bluesy groovers, all the while maintaining a solid identity within themselves.
A big part of that identity rests in Holland?s vocals, which emit an accented howling throughout Movin? On that sometimes suits the music perfectly but occasionally is far too present in the mix, almost to the point of drowning out the music behind. The ?It?s so sad to see you go, but I love to watch you leave? chorus finds an effective balance, but in contrast, the verses of ?Fire? simply come on too strong. It might be a case of an adjustment having been made in the mixing phase so that the heavier parts of the record had the vocal levels raised and the mastering brought that out even more, but whatever it is, it?s a distraction that pulls the listener out of the overall experience of the album, and that?s a dangerous line to walk for any band. Definitely an album issue, however. As you can see in the video below, it’s not a problem when performing live.
Overall, however, Movin? On is a success for Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight. As a band doing it all on their own, their songwriting speaks volumes and the dedication and time they put into making the album in a professional setting is, by the time closer ?Because of You? is done, only a secondary demonstration of their pro-level ethic. It?s not perfect, but it?s a decent start for the band, and gives them a solid foundation to build on going forward.
Tags: Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight, UK, Unsigned bands