Did you know that Tripping is a Hazard?

I've never said no to a review, even when at first listen I can tell things are going to get mean… Depending on the popularity and the youngness (both individually and as a band) I'll pick and choose my words more carefully, while when it comes to bands making the big bucks already I don't think I have to bite my tongue as much, or worry that I'll stomp on their career before they even get a chance. In the case of local Toronto band Tripping Hazard I am trying to pick my words very carefully…
After all, when they contacted me they were great people, and it's not like their music is bad…but it's no rum and tits either.
Let's rewind..
When the band first contacted me I took a quick listen to their myspace before agreeing to write them a review, and at that time I actually remember getting into the few songs posted. Yet each time I sat down to listen to them since I couldn't get past a full song…
I finally forced myself to hammer something out today during my lunch, and although fast forwarding at times I made it through their 13 song album only to find that the interest I had initially felt had utterly vanished.
whaa happan?
Well, the first thing that comes to mind is the fact that the singer does not belong to the music at all.
I'm sorry, gurrrl you have a gorgeous voice, a great range… no doubt you can sing, but nothing about the vocals matches the music. The timing sounds off, the levels sound off.. it sounds as if both the vocals and the music are ignoring each other and doing their own thing. The music, dark and gritty, sometimes masks the pretty, airy vocals because they lack the hardness needed to pull off this kind of sound. Not that I've ever been a huge fan of female vocals, but I do know how to appreciate them and in this case I can't. I long to hear male vocals instead and I believe I would actually be able to listen to this album without cringing if some testosterone was involved.
I love the griminess in the actual music, yet by the end even that gets repetitive and unimaginative. The dark indie beats are sexy when they speed things up, but as they slow down again I get sleepy and drown them out… At one point I even started singing Outkast's "Hey Ya" for some reason to pick my spirits up a bit.
Maybe it would sound better if it was played really really ridiculously loud....
To be fair the singer is actually really fucking good but I think she'd shine a lot more in another project. I get the impression she's dumbing her vocals down a lot to sing in this band and that's a shame.
The song "Audio Pornography" is the only track where each element kind of suits each other, and they manage to actually sound somewhat like pornography with the almost inaudible cowbell.
At the very least they have a few hilarious song titles going for them… "$0.01 BJ" and "Motherfucking Rainbows"…heh heh.
Nonetheless I can see this band being better live, even with the vocals, so maybe i'll check that out and see how I feel after...
For now, I'm out like my upstairs hall light.

I'm Sarah, I do what I want.