IF THERE’S A GAP of 11 years between albums can that actually be regarded as a follow-up? In more than a decade people have moved on, newcomers have arrived, the main protagonists have changed as people, the music industry, not to say society itself has changed. What might have been the driving force in 2004 may be a cul-de-sac in 2015.
Such thoughts have arisen after a reading about Trinity Roots’ self-released new album Citizen with a reference to their previous album, Home, Land and Sea. All the above applies, one out, one in, two remain. Those being Warren Maxwell and Rio Hemopo.
Citizen was released last month to coincide with their brace of shows at Womad in New Plymouth. Porky saw part of the first set intrigued but not feeling the urge to miss another engagement to hang around till the end.
Trinity Roots are very much a New Zealand band, steeped in Maori culture, spirituality, story-telling and a unique sound that would seem largely alien in other parts of the world. The chugging riffs of the opening track, Bully, and the final offering, Haiku, could well be found on a Queens of the Stone Age album. Bully begins, however, with a waiata tawhito (ancient Maori melody), cuts out in the middle and finishes off with a colossal finale. Haiku is Black Sabbath meets Pink Floyd Piper at the Gates of Dawn era.
These are tracks are worth the admission price alone, but everything else inbetween is ponderous and tame. The title track and Clarity seem stuck in second gear; they aren’t simply slower songs, they just go nowhere.
And while El Kaptain suffers from the same long-form, no exit road, it is a finely written reflection on the direction of the National government using a ship as a metaphor. “El Kaptain. You’ve been heading too far to starboard…. You pull your strings. Use binding words for blinding folk.”
I will leave it there.