Sunday 21 January 2018
CRYPT TRIP ~ ROOTSTOCK ...review
From the very first note of Texas trio Crypt Trip's self titled debut album "Crypt Trip" it was fairly obvious that this was a band to be reckoned with, a band with something to say, a blues based band who were going to take this weary and tired genre by the scruff of the neck and drag it into new and exciting directions yet at the same time stay true to its roots. Then along came "Mabon Songs" a three song EP that saw the band step backwards in time eschewing the stonerized and psychedelic elements of their debut for a more organic blues rock sound that had an almost dated proto-ish feel. Clearly this was a band who were going to follow their own agenda's and not be shackled by others expectations. Two years after the release of "Mabon Songs" Crypt Trip, Ryan Lee (guitar/vocals/electric piano), Cameron Martin (vocals/drums) and Sam Bryant (bass), return with their latest full album "Rootstock" let's see where they intend taking us this time.
"Heartslave" opens"Rootstock" kicking things into gear with a funky wah drenched little number coated in clean melodic vocal tones that over the course of its 5:19 length more or less covers every beat, groove and dynamic ever explored within the fields of bluesy hard rock yet managing to do this without ever sounding anything other than original The band follow this little beauty up with "Boogie No.6" and again we find the band shape shifting their sound to accommodate another smorgasbord of various bluesy dynamics that also include those of a more psychedelic hue. Next up is "Aquarena Daydream" and those lysergic hues briefly visited earlier come in to their own in a song that boasts dreamy, far away vocal melodies, Allman-esque guitar tones and a swathe of atmospheric keyboard flourishes before finishing on a pacey blues groove that includes all those hallmarks and elements we have come to expect from blues music born in the Lone Star State. "Rio Vista" finds Crypt Trip hitting the proto/retro trail with a scintillating blues workout, underpinned by Martin and Bryant's furious bass and drum work, again swathed in swirling organ ( courtesy of guest musician Brittany Garza) over which Lee delivers a stunning array of pedal effected fretwork. The next three tracks "Natural Child", "Tears of Gaia" and "Mabon Song" all first appeared on the bands EP "Mabon Songs" and lose none of their impact nestled here among Crypt Trip's newer songs, in fact they benefit from their new surroundings, the songs slightly re-worked/re-tweaked arrangements giving them a fresher more immediate feel that fits in perfectly with dynamics found in the bands newer material. "Rootstock" finishes its impressive journey with "Soul Games" a song that boasts an absolutely phenomenal performance from Martin , the drummer driving the songs lysergic groove with an unbelievable array of tribalistic beats and shimmering percussion that are superbly backed up by Bryant's mix of growling and liquid bass lines. Over and around this whirlwind of Santana-esque flavoured acid groove and hazy vocal melodies Lee delivers scorching guitar textures, tasteful soaring solo's, funky effect soaked chords and glistening arpeggios, the guitarist filling every available space with swathe upon swathe of exquisite blues drenched guitar colouring. The song comes to a close with Garza returning to speak heavily phased narrative over a backdrop of shimmering percussion, liquid loose bass and heavily effected guitar colouring before fading out in to silence.
The blues is at the root of all of the rock music we listen to today be it crushing black metal, classic rock, heavily fuzzed stoner or swirling psych. If you take the time to look hard enough you will find it, sometimes glaringly obvious, sometimes hidden under a tsunami of heavy riffage. but its always there. Some bands celebrate their bluesy influences others prefer to deny them and some bands like Crypt Trip take them and use them as a launchpad into newer waters, twisting the blues around and around like an old flannel wringing out their essence to add to a melting pot full of other essences to create something new and exciting that although rooted to the past is not defined by it. "Rootstock" is an album born from that melting pot.
Check it out .....
© 2018 Frazer Jones