“What the hell is alt-blues?” I asked myself when Trident Waters’ new EP landed in my inbox. But it’s the sort of thing you have to investigate, especially when it sounds right up your alley. Going by Hollywood to Vegas, it’s basically bluesy hard rock with a good helping of groove and indeed with opening track “Be So Bad”, I haven’t heard a band with this much groove since I discovered Crobot a number of years ago.
You don’t even need to investigate the band to know this is a three-piece. Simply listening to the EP will tell you that, they’ve managed to record the special energy which exists exclusively in three-piece band. Most of the tracks show how malleable blues can be in rock and how different it can sound with most of the tracks sounding different yet similar enough that you know it’s from the same band and indeed, EP. However, “Futility”, comes cleverly at the halfway point with a darker, alternative edge to it. It’s also here where the blues influences are stripped back to imbue the music in a much more ferocious tone.
Meanwhile, “Desert Soul” channels the opening of pretty much any AC/DC song and while it lacks the bombast you’d expect from them, they make up for it with restraint and polish before it descends into Led Zeppelin territory with a more carefree vibe to it. The rest of the tracks are very much in the vein of hard rock with a good dollop of blues and indeed, the rock takes a backseat in favour of blues for “Eva Lane” as its melody twangs throughout. However, it’s “Gallows” where the band shine best, taking the best elements of the preceding four songs and wrapping it all into one, brooding opus to finish the EP, building to a whopping finale.
Calling Trident Waters “alt-blues” may be a bit of a misnomer given they land firmly in a well-established genre. Whilst the EP’s title may namecheck two of America’s most famous locales, it’s got more in line with British acts of the same ilk. However, they’re a tight band who play proficiently and have a level of chemistry you can only get from a band several releases in at this point and it’s a great listen to immerse yourself in.
Hollywood to Vegas is out now