Last month marked the release of 3, the aptly named third full-length album from tricot. The album was accompanied by a huge push from the band and their team at Bakuretsu Records, both abroad and at home. The domestic release features two versions: a deluxe art collaboration with artist Cho Hikaru and a minimalist CD with no lyrics booklet and simply the number “3” printed on a clear jewel case. The latter retailed for 1500 yen, putting it at about half the price of a typical major album in Japan, presumably hoping to reach the widest audience. They also partnered with Big Scary Monsters for a European release and Topshelf Records for an American release. Three music videos were made for this album, not including two previously released tracks (“Pork Ginger” and “Setsuyakuka”) which already had videos. “Tokyo Vampire Hotel” was also a tie-in as the theme song to a Sono Sion (director of Suicide Club) Amazon Prime drama of the same name. What’s more, the entire album is available for listening in full on YouTube. Their focus seemed to be to reach as many people as possible with this third album and they seem to have done that. 3 has gotten a ton of music press in the English-speaking world, with features on NPR and more, and in Japan it charted on Oricon at 20, the best since their debut full-length T H E, which hit 18. But how is the album?
- TOKYO VAMPIRE HOTEL
- Yosoiki (よそいき)
- Sukima (スキマ)
- pork side
- Pork Ginger (ポークジンジャー)
- Echo (エコー)
- Namu (南無)
- Setsuyakuka (節約家)
- Melon Soda (メロンソーダ)
- For the first time since T H E, basically the entire album features only one drummer, Yoshida Yuusuke, who is also currently their main live drummer. The two exceptions are previously recorded tracks of “Setsuyakuka” (Abe Yuuma) and “Pork Ginger” (Wakiyama Kousuke, tabaccojuice drummer and contributor on A N D).
- “Pork Ginger” was given away for free during Christmas 2015, but this is the first time since then it has been available for purchase.
- Despite two songs having previous releases, “Wabi-Sabi” is the oldest song on the album and was written shortly after the release of T H E. It was never performed or recorded until now.
- “Yosoiki” is the first track to feature (briefly) lead vocals from all three members.
From first to last, every track on 3 feels like an integral part of a bigger whole. There are no throw-away tracks. Every song feels like tricot, yet this is by far their most experimental album to date. Sukima is a staccato jazz swagger and Namu is a sugar-fueled pop nightmare. The whole album in general leans more to a pop sound than anything else so far and has few heavy-hitting rock tracks that were signature pieces in their earlier albums. Yet while the album has a great cohesive feel, two of the songs with the biggest impact are the two previously-released tracks, so it doesn’t quite feel right to credit them to this album. T H E, with “Pool,” “Omotenashi,” “Ochansensuusu,” “99.974C,” “Oyasumi,” and more, still feels the most impressive in terms of memorable individual songs. That said, 3 is a still great album. It has a lot in it for tricot fans, and may present a new angle for examination for tricot skeptics. I highly recommend a listen and think that this is a candidate for album of the year.
- Yosoiki – Addictive groove in the verse
- 18,19 – Powerful intro with excellent drumming
- Namu – Perhaps a polarizing number, but the repeating lyrics of “namu,” a Buddhist mantra, in this hyper-pop song is mesmerizing