Triptik Empire’s ‘The Age of Mistakes’ is the Dublin band’s début EP. It is composed of six tracks which encompass a dash of everything: stoner-rock, kraut-rock, drum-and-bass, swing. At times, this is to the record’s detriment but more often than not it means we are presented with an interesting and, if not wholly original, accomplished recording.
Faster Than A Mistake opens with a snarling guitar and funky bass. It smacks of Les Claypool. The song’s simple chorus repetition of ‘I want you’ conjures up the libidinal call to arms of a Queens of The Stone Age track, while the piano interlude sweeps with Philip Marlowe cockiness. All the while, there is a distinct self-assuredness behind the accented vocals of Carl Masurel. It is a cracking opener.
The Snake sounds like part two of Faster Than a Mistake. More lumbering bass, more attitude, more melodic and whimpering vocals against heavy guitars. These are songs composed of distinct parts, as more complex rock songs often are, intricately linked by cheeky overrunning licks and hiccuping gaps, as though intakes of breath are needed for the overworked guitars and drums. To conjure an idea of Triptik Empire’s sound, think of a more innocuous The Mars Volta, perhaps with a shade more ’90s naivety and a lot less crazy. Basically, think of At The Drive In’s other half, Sparta.
The next few songs do not live up to the promises of the EP’s strong openers. The centre of the record feels muddled by its many genres. Requiem For A Swing follows a certain overly-familiar avenue explored by bands of late. It is swing-rock, which is composed of that familiar ‘20s Chicago piano and heavy guitars. It evokes images of harlequin patterns and wide-smiling, steam-punk ringleaders, and comes off as garish. The Fall, with its phasers and frantically delivered lyric is music of the euro-trash variety. It’s a strange hybrid of Goa trance and desert rock. So Far is an instrumental which sounds like Stoned Jesus, Colour Haze or various bands of the stoner rock genre.
The final track, Vizio de Forma, is the best track of the EP. It is ‘come-hither’ rock and roll that sounds like it is being played in the corner of a cantina. There ought to be more of this in the rest of the record. The distorted Italian lyric stomps over a steely, unwavering bass and shrieking guitars. It’s a sloppy, sexy affair, with guttural sing along choruses and angry blurting into a megaphone. You can almost picture the bartender of the place where it ought to be played, with his slick hair, sallow skin and bad tattoos beneath an open shirt.
This is a good EP. The middle of the record is not able to live up to its opening and closing tracks and therefore one might feel like the content is a little watered down, but there is some strong rock music present here. If this was a three track EP, it could well be a five star review. But alas, it is not. What is needed here is another original ingredient. For The Mars Volta, that ingredient was bat-shit crazy. If Triptik Empire can find this, they might well produce a second record that fulfils their potential.