Triclops! | Cafeteria Brutalia (Sickroom)

It feels epic in scale, even though its only five minutes long. And the twisted, carnival-like breakdown in the middle of the song must be what going crazy sounds like.

 

Not many bands start out a CD with a song sung entirely in Latin, but that's precisely how Triclops! begins their four-song EP, Cafeteria Brutalia. Even if singer John Geek were singing in English, chances are you couldn't discern what he was saying anyhow due to the gritty guitar and bass assault. The opening track, "Mi Plisboy," kicks off hard from the start and doesn't let you go. It hearkens back to the days of really great underground skateboarding music, and Geek's voice sounds very reminiscent of the late, great Bon Scott of AC/DC. I actually had to check the date on the CD just to make sure that this was a new release. I listened again and really enjoyed it for what it had to offer: a great guitar riff, a nice intensity, and just a plain old kick-ass groove.

The second track, "Jewel of Oakland," is a hard and loud (and somewhat psychedelic) number that centers on a transsexual hooker's encounter with a john that gets a little too rough, much to the john's chagrin. It feels epic in scale, even though its only five minutes long. And the twisted, carnival-like breakdown in the middle of the song must be what going crazy sounds like.

The third entry, "Bug Bomb," made me think of the best days of 1980s and '90s hardcore. Christian Eric Beaulieu's guitar and Larry Boothroyd's bass attack your ears with a distorted fuzziness that would make Sonic Youth envious, while drummer Phil Becker does his damndest to make the percussion parts as interesting as possible. The song is fraught with odd tempo changes and mood shifts, and really runs the gamut of styles during its nearly 11-minute duration. The lyrics seem to be inspired from two things: William Burroughs and LSD, and offers an interesting story of a man beset by insects in his house who then decides to bomb them…except he doesn't leave the house. Yeah, it's weird. And kind of creepy.

"Salton" could be a veiled reference to urban sprawl; then again, maybe not. Its lyrics seem to imply that the narrator is sick and tired of what is becoming of the body of water near his home, or as he terms it, "nothing more than a puddle of agricultural waste." He wishes for the death of the water skiers and laments his dead parents, buried at what was once the waterline of the lake. It's an odd number and not very clear in meaning (but what is these days?), but musically, it's a nice bookend to this EP. The tone of this track is again hard and fast, keeping up with the rest of the CD, but this time it almost seems as if the music works against the song, as it doesn't offer anything terribly original sonically. It ain't bad, but it ain't special.

All in all, the disc is definitely worth a listen, and this Bay-area band is worth exploring. Triclops!'s Web site describes the band as such: "Chamber music with a bit of a math rock edge to it. Think Vivaldi meets Strapping Young Lad meets Usher around the corner of a 7-11 in Richmond to smoke 8,000 blunts. Scott Joplin shooting up frisco speedballs. Jay Leno with a megaphone super glued around his mouth pushed into an erupting volcano." With all honesty, this pretty much nails the sound on Cafeteria Brutalia. B- | Tyson Blanquart

RIYL: AC/DC, Sonic Youth, Revolting Cocks

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