No Trigger - Tycoon
Record Label: No Sleep
Release Date: February 21, 2012
Let's be sure of one thing: Tycoon is a pretzel twist of Set Your Goals, Kid Dynamite, and A Wilhelm Scream. Yet it's in the defiance-stricken genre of hardcore punk that we find No Trigger, and instantly the word "tycoon" becomes code-word for molotov. The cover art, whose musty hues and makeshift cabin are abstract enough to drive us to near hair-pulling, echo No Trigger's familiar outback whims after a five year post-Canyoneer retreat. It's no surprise, then, that Jay Maas' rawly exposed production would be a perfect companion to their wily back-to-nature tendencies. Maas and the No Sleep brand are a knockout combination, and we've excitedly awaited the return of No Trigger's playful one-two punch.
But they grew up a bit, and something inside them pawned the counter-culture bravado for a more sonically intimate test-drive. Frontman Tom Rheault cleverly adapts his ecological savvy to life lessons: "anchorless seeds are still stuck in the weeds and I can't believe it" ("Maple Boy") and every word pops naturally to the rhythm. Chord progressions contain enough West-coast spunk for you to realize "we're not in Massachusetts anymore" and on occasion will make you do double-takes from '96-era inspired pop punk. But there's no need to swap out Rheault's uppercutting scruff for Matt Wilson's shrill pipes and Jordan Brown's even-tones (Set Your Goals) to realize that hooky opener "Maple Boy" tromps dynamically over the "The Fallen"; or how the head-bopping chorus in "Windmill and Watertower" mimics surges of a Kid Dynamite blood rush; or that the singalong nature of "Checkmate" recalls the band's Strike Anywhere roots. And once playful energies break loose from free-spirited punker "Mountaineer" for Rheault to belt out "living on alcohol, adrenaline, and filtered grinds/don't mess with the adventurers" you'd think he and his bandmates were Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.
Despite these upbeat characteristics, No Trigger would rather agree that they survive on the heaviest hardcore punk high, and that addiction is even more severe throughout the latter half of the album. From the aggressive drumwork of Mike Ciprari and metallic thrusts credited to guitarists Jon Strader and Mike Pryzgoda, it's obvious that the band's mission is to set off much overdue personal steam. Their Worcester-bred tomfoolery shines most on "Insider (Executive/Amputee)", as if they're engaged in a game of riff roulette with hometown buddies A Wilhelm Scream. "No Brains" creates flowery mystique via chordal interplay, only to explode into a mouthful of harmonic woah-ohs and stadium designed drum stomps. However, no other track possesses a greater blend of tailspin and melancholy than "Permanent". As one of No Trigger's finest creations, it flicks the speed demon switch, madness ensues, and Rheault's now comfortably nude pathos "cannot pretend everything is permanent".
As album closer "Turn In My Throat" dissolves into a solemn snare trot, the more resonant No Trigger's maturity becomes. There's a wistful side to them that will always cherish the canyoneering heydays, but has also come to terms with the fact that not everyone's guaranteed to reach the mountaintop. A catch like Tycoon, however, knows better than that.