"Everything Works" For Triangle Fire
Updated: Nov 20, 2018
By Sean Lee
Many modern indie artists have conformed their love of rock n roll to more mainstream tastes, but East Los Angeles band Triangle Fire have remained surprisingly steadfast.
“Everything Works,” Triangle Fire’s debut studio album is a refreshing escape from the bass drops and EDM tinged instrumentation found in today’s indie rock.
The music sounds as if front man Robert Abalos isolated himself on a desert island with only his guitar and a ham radio, playing only 1970s pop records, listening to The Eagles opposed to the modern bands playing on today’s top 40 radio. While there is the hint of modernity in the production through the use of synthesizers and overdubs, the album’s release provides a nostalgic vacation away from the cookie cutter songs that have dominated the airwaves today.
The songs of “Everything Works” evoke a sense of detachment through the album’s tongue-in-cheek lyricism and emphasis on guitars -- an instrument that has sadly fallen out of favor with mainstream tastes. Album opener “Hype” begins this escapism by forgoing an eight bar chorus and the inclusion of a guitar solo evocative of Mark Knopfler’s work in Dire Straits.
“Someone asked if they can have my soul / In the name of the great Jose there’s no chance,” Abalos sings, emancipating himself and the band from the expectations of today’s songwriting machines The song uniquely has one writer as opposed to a ghost writer and the band itself plays as contributing members rather than session players hired to complete a song.
The rest of the album plays further on the notion of liberation through individuality, sometimes using unique melodies like The Killers-sounding “One Month of Fire” to show audiences that familiar sounds can actually still be unique. Triangle Fire places one foot in their past influences and one foot in freeing themselves from repetition, favoring a pure indie sound that is simultaneously familiar but wholly new.
The song “Deathrow Jethro,” for instance, combines a punk rock four on the floor with a Strokes-esque guitar riff as Abalos oddly twists an allusion to 70s rock band Jethro Tull with a rhyme scheme that absurdly places the band on the executioners block. While the track’s instrumentation stays in the lane of indie rock, the absurdity of the imagery portrays a level of detached lyricism that hasn’t been present since the Arctic Monkeys moved to California and recorded their stoner rock album Humbug in 2009.
If there is one downside to “Everything Works,” it is that the 12 song track list at times seems disparate at times. Standout songs like ‘Little Furs’ with its honest profession of an individual’s inner conflict seem odd following seemingly more immature professions of individuality such as “I Am Boring.” However, even in the faults of songs that seem to have been written in the bands early stages, the overall joy heard from the bands energetic playing overrides any lyrical/musical superficiality.
Musically, the band performs up to if not exceeding the level of lyricism with intricate guitar parts (Cerulean Light), complex rhythmic syncopation (Jack Bruce), and dynamics (Everything Works).
The band does not fall into the typical indie cliché that good songwriting exceeds the need for technical musicianship, instead each song is tightly calculated with dull moments in lyricism being carried by musical excitement and vice versa.
Perhaps in this day and age of songwriting machines and musical conformity an album like “Everything Works” is needed to show that the band is still a musical unit that is a force to be reckoned with.
This piece is by Sean Lee. Follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leee.