Album review: TRIGGERFINGER – All This Dancin’ Around




Dramatico Records [Release date 15.04.13]

What’s in a name? Triggerfinger is a condition related to the forefinger, but transferred to a musical context, the concept might explain the Flemish combo’s jerky and restless style. They think nothing of sudden shifts from power riff-driven, pulsating rock to Grunge, Garage Punk with hints of psychedelia, all anchored by a bluesy undertow.

“All This Dancin’ Around” is an enjoyable bundle of contradictions.  The Belgium bad is influenced by stoner rock, think Queens of the Stone Age meets grunge era Neil Young.  They momentarily explore fleeting Brit influences such as Muse and even Radiohead, and the unrelenting riffs and spirally bass lines generate the same sort of  power and energy to be found in latter career Rush – albeit bluster in search of a decent song.

Triggerfinger are clearly the sum of their unique parts, ranging from the startling vocals of Rubem Block, who thinks nothing of using his voice as an extra layered instrument, to the virtuosic bass playing of Paul Van Bruystegem. Mario Goossens’ percussive versatility nicely shapes everything, from the portentous press rolls on ‘Feed Me’ to the thundering propulsive rhythms of the up tempo ‘Tuxedo’.

“All This Dancin’ Around” is an exhilarating ride, full of big production values, tensions busting solos, dramatic vocal swoops and an adventurous music spirit that won’t be sated until every stylistic potential has been explored.

So while the album opens with a ripping brace of stadium rockers and moves into the sharply contrasting heavy grunge and starling falsetto of ‘I’m Coming For You’, the big tremolo guitar motif and close to the mic vocal of ‘Love Lost in Love’ suggests there’s more to their material than mere bombast.

Indeed by the time of the vocal piece of ‘All Night Long’  - a post Radiohead bluesy take on the old Ray Charles song – Triggerfinger explore the kind of  eclectic arrangement and unfettered vocal style that will largely determine whether you like them or not.

The 8 minute opus ‘My Baby’s Got A Gun’ further wracks up the tension, before exploding into a grungy drone. It’s got the kind of troubled poetic lyrics that Jim Morrison might have brought to life, but here it’s in danger of merely testing your patience.

And while the band further explore a heavier Muse style drone on ‘Cherry’ – all rumbling bass and angst filled vocals – they retain their ability to surprise with the dreamy ‘Without A Sound’. The song evokes New Order and the deliberately plucked bass line would surely make Peter Hook smile.

They save their best for last on ‘It Hasn’t Gone Away’, as a grungy Neil Young arrangement collides with a Lennon vocal, in a triumph of a psychedelic swirl over meaning.

It is no real surprise to learn that the band’s commercial breakthrough came with a cover of Lykke Li’sI Follow Rivers’. The relaxed, whistled melody swaps minimalism for bombast and breathes enough to effectively showcase Block’s yearning vocals. The same can be said of the bonus acoustic version of ‘Love Lost In Love’, proof if needed that the band are just as good without a wall of sound.

At times Triggerfinger flatter to deceive. They press the right buttons, mine a few familiar riffs and Ruben’s vocal swoops successfully unlocks different moods and feels as the band reaches for something epic. You sense their ambitions are limitless, but what’s missing is a memorable song.  **** (4/5)

Review by Pete Feenstra

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 2 August 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 4 August 2020.

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