From the opening needle-drop sound that precedes “Mardou,” to the drum fill that concludes “Wrecking Ball,” Please Do the Needful bristles with high energy, well-produced indie rock. The debut album from the Seattle-based Trip Audrey benefits from a clear confidence in approach. The arrangements are at once loose yet well-rehearsed, with little harmonic twists and turns to keep the songs interesting.
Mixing a little ’90s-era grunge with sprinklings of punk and emo, the album is grounded throughout by a respect for classic pop song structure. The fourteen songs are mostly two to four minutes in length, never (or at least rarely) wearing out their welcome. Among the stand-outs is “AMF,” with a thick bed of jangling guitars supporting a moody, dark melody. A cover of Gillian Welch’s plaintive country tune “Look At Miss Ohio” builds to a strong climax, with impressive guitar work courtesy of Cris Cable.
“Paint It Red” provides one of the album’s sunniest pop confections, with an appealingly unaffected vocal from lead singer (and guitarist) Josh Lanza. On the other end of the spectrum is “Number 4” (actually the tenth track), the longest tune at nearly seven minutes. Bolstered by a soaring primary riff, the song may have benefited from excising the two minutes of atmospheric sounds that precede the downbeat. That said, the song has an expansive, epic feel with more excellent soloing from Cable.
Not unlike the wounded delicacy of ballads by legendary power-popsters Big Star, “Remedios” is a late album highlight – perhaps my favorite on the album. The finger-picked guitar and effectively restrained harmonies compliment the soothing melody. Making plain the desire to keep the tone varied, “Saving Face” wouldn’t be out of place on a Weezer album while “Xmas” finds the band bashing out slightly demented sounding garage rock.
Trip Audrey has been playing Seattle clubs since 2001. According to their press release, their style has been slowly refined since then. With Please Do the Needful, they’ve crafted an interesting album that displays many sides of that style. The quartet has clearly invested some serious time in the woodshed, as their ensemble work is tight and focused. The rhythm section of Erynn Rose on bass and Kai Strandskov on drums gives the guitarist a strong foundation.
Please Do the Needful is available from a number of sources, including iTunes and CDbaby. More information about Trip Audrey can be found on the group’s official website.