While the Reading, UK quartet started out by covering Slipknot tunes on their school lunch breaks, Tripwires have changed quite a bit in the years since. They’ve dropped the nu-metal influences in favor of the likes of My Bloody Valentine and Radiohead, daubing their indie rock jams with shoegaze flourishes. Many delve into the pedal-heavy expanses that can come along with an appreciation for MBV, but Tripwires show more pop hooks than fuzzy depth on their debut LP, Spacehopper.
Tripwires first made hay a few years ago with the demo of “Shimmer”, a track that survived multiple delays and holdups before Spacehopper made its way to the market. Frontman Rhys Edwards’ stretched vowels and aching delivery make for the most direct Yorke-ian moment on the disc, the smoldering guitars and thundering bass matching the dramatic flair. That slow-burner is quickly followed by the far spacier yet less impactful “Love Me Sinister”, a slick bass groove surrounded by light guitar chiming and watery requests to “tell me you love me anyway.” The song’s five minutes amble by, never quite finding a big moment to latch onto.
The blissfully warbling “Catherine, I Feel Sick”, on the other hand, hits some poignant highs in its expansive wavering. “Let’s get together/ I have lots to tell you,” Edwards croons over Sam Pilsbury’s icy rhythm. But it’s when he repeatedly admits that “it’s not like it used to be” that the bottom falls out, floating of into space, unsure of what exactly might come next. When Tripwires push so far out of their confines that the boundaries can’t be seen, the uncertainty and frustration of the lyrics starts to make more of a connection. Unfortunately, too often on Spacehopper they stick too close to the traditional patterns of orbit.
Essential Tracks: “Shimmer”, “Catherine, I Feel Sick”