Is it fair that a band like Tricot, out of Kyoto, might garner extra attention simply because they’re Japanese women pursuing math rock? The flip side of the same coin would be that math rock is a wee bit testosterone-heavy, right? Is that even true? I couldn’t say for certain, but it certainly seems like a distinct possibility. Marnie Stern is the only female math rocker I can think of, but it’s not like I know that much about it.
In any case, while Tricot may win the PR buzz game by incorporating female vocals in a language incomprehensible to most American ears, it can equally well be seen as the kind of innovation that math rock needed to absorb. I’ll be neither the first nor the last writer to offer the idea that they sound like Don Caballero crossed with Shonen Knife, but that combination does sound tantalizing, no? To my ears, Don Cab has a wild streak that allows them to stray wherever they want to go, whereas Tricot has not developed that level of artistry yet—they’re merely pretty damn adept. (In other words, Tricot’s songs sound too much alike.)
Tricot has recently released a long-player called THE—people used to ask whether the term long-player makes any sense in the post-CD era, but vinyl’s back again, so I guess it’s OK! Tricot appears to take its math rock identity pretty seriously, as evidenced by their having named one song after the vernacular equivalent of pi—“3.14.” (On the new album, they’ve got another one called “99.974.”)
The band has a way with the high-concept video as well. “Oyusami (Night)” is the one I like best, as the quartet deploys its math-rockery all over a baseball diamond—without giving anything away, the day/night dynamic in the video suggests that they believe in the power of clutch, although it’s equally possible they think baseball is a dumb boys’ thing.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Awkward, hilarious interview with Steve Albini