T.S.O.L – The Trigger Complex

Short for ‘True Sounds of Liberty’ T.S.O.L have been a presence on the punk and rock scenes since their first EP was released in the early 80’s, with their debut LP Dance With Me released in 1981. To put that into perspective, they released their first album over a decade before I was born and were featured in the soundtrack to the cult classic horror movie Return of the Living Dead released in 1985. The Trigger Complex is their eleventh album, and by some divine intervention, T.S.O.L, although sounding vastly different from their 80’s sound, continue to pump out solid, entertaining pop punk tracks, with just a hint of hard rock occasionally entering the mix.

The secret to T.S.O.L’s longevity undoubtedly seems to be their tight-knit sound and their musicianship. Naturally in their 35+ years as a band there have been changes in their lineup, but The Trigger Complex was clearly created by a band who know exactly the kind of music they want to make, and it works.

Where other punk bands who have attempted to maintain a relevant sound decades after they originally surface struggle to find a balance between their original sound, and the progressions that music has been through in the following years, T.S.O.L have managed to merge their early, funkier punk sounds heard on albums like 1984’s Change Today? with harder hitting, more riff focused sounds.

Tracks include anthemic rock tracks like ‘Strange World’, which sounds a little like some of Spycatchers work, another group spawned from classic punk roots, in their case the equally iconic Gallows. Give Me More is a definite highlight, boasting a no holds barred blend of rock riffs and punk tempo that focuses on the areas where The trigger Complex excels. Some tracks feel a little forgettable but they’re never lacklustre, Why Can’t We Do It Again for example lacks enough energy to make it a hit, though will undoubtedly go down well when sung at live shows with an audience joining in its various chants.

“It’s a great time to be making music; to have a voice that can be heard,” says frontman Jack Grisham. “I’m glad that things look bleak. Political turmoil breeds strength as well as strife. This record allows us to remind people that they aren’t alone. We’re here.” Although The Trigger Complex‘s political content is never overt it’s great to hear a well-known voice in punk add their name to the wave of defiant voices we’ve been hearing lately from the genres artists. It offers some hope that one good thing might come from the torrent of terrible that’s been gracing our news lately. A new wave of punk to help fight the oncoming right wing rises across the world? We’re glad to see a genre veteran like T.S.O.L stepping up the task.

The Trigger Complex is due for release on January 27th through their new record label Rise Records. You can preorder it here.

Jack Holmes

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