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Tripod - TriPod

Tripod - TriPodWhat were they thinking?  Prog and jazz-rock without any guitar would seem rather daring if not careless in the wrong hands.  But if you’re thinking this must be a keyboard-based band, you are way off the mark because there are no keyboards either.

Tripod is an American based trio who do not worry themselves about prog rock conventions, certainly as far as instrumentation is concerned.  With an arsenal of instruments (too long to list in full) at their disposal including 12-string basses, 8-string basses, Chapman stick, Saxes, flute, clarinet, bass pedals and assorted percussion, guitars and keyboards are redundant.

Individually the band members (Clint Bahr, Steve Romano and Keith Gurland) have a wide variety of musical tastes including Tull, YES, Brand X, The Beatles, King Crimson, Zeppelin etc. and whilst they are bound to draw on these influences, Tripod’s resultant unique sound is something of a conundrum.

The immediate impression after hearing the album in its entirety is a wondrous mix of Zappa, Crimson and Gong in the main, with vocals (Clint Bahr) ranging from the Zappa-esque to a sort of Greg Lake - Ian Anderson - Brian Gulland (Gryphon) combination.

Steve Romano (percussion) does a lot ore than hold it all together, with some terrific fills and a variety of sounds.  On top of main vocal duties, Clint is also the man with the bass and whilst lesser mortals struggle with a standard 4 string version he needs no map to find his way round the 12 strings, effortlessly flipping from rhythm to lead as the passage dictates.  Keith Gurland, who also provides backing vocals, is a match for Mel Collins or Didier Malherbe on sax and Ian MacDonald on flute, the latter being most obvious on the last track, As the Sun

As with any ‘small business’, job demarcation is often blurred, as everyone is required to ‘muck in’ when required, and this is no exception for this trio.  Normal boundaries are broken in the sense that there is no single lead instrument but all three are on an equal footing.  This leads to a fullness of sound with clever interplay but without any annoying over indulgence.

Along with the late Frank Zappa (assuming he is listening from beyond the grave), I’m still smiling, but you have to hear it to understand why.  Look no further if you want something that is both cool and rocks.

Jem Jedrzejewski




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