Big Bite - Trinity
Big Bite’s self-titled debut album, released just last year, introduced the Seattle four-piece as a DIY tour de force and a potential torch-bearer for the city’s looming grunge roots. Trinity, the band’s follow-up, peculiarly lands with less force, though that has more to do a (frankly admirable) foregoing of social media promotion than any arguable dip in quality. Rest assured, it’s still the same band cranking out tempered, grungy tunes, but if you’re looking for an experience as monstrous or as searing as their debut, something will undeniably feel missing from this record. Half of it comes down to production changes: where Big Bite blazed with enough treble to slay an elephant, Trinity’s landscapes (courtesy of Jack Shirley) are comparatively warmer and softer. The buzzsaw guitars of Matt Berry and Graham Baker have been dulled down to accommodate that warmth, and Allen Trainer’s drums – specifically the snare – pack less of a punch. On top of this, the energy levels have dipped dramatically: the band appears locked in mid-tempo throughout (save for a lively breakdown that breaks up “Monte”), and no track here is as energetically forthright as “Pure of Heart” or “Relentless Healing.” Artists are, of course, free to pursue whatever they feel warrants recording, but for a certified kind of punk audience it’ll be hard not to miss the ingredients that made Big Bite such an explosive triumph.
That being said, there’s a lot here to appreciate if you align yourself to this new dinosaur-rock wavelength. What Trinity may lack in energy it makes up for in verifiable stompers (like titanic opener “The River” and the aforementioned “Monte”) and sweeter, poppier arrangements (like the deceptively complex “Blue Nine”). Berry’s drawling vocals, akin to iconic slacker Kurt Vile, are as perfect a marriage to the sound of whammied chords as ever. And while everyone’s playing slower on the whole, tight playing still abounds, from the great break toward the end of “Still Haunts Me” to the syncopation on “The Altar.” Trinity’s got heaviness to spare, and so even if that heaviness makes it less exciting on first listen, it’s still a worthy addition to Big Bite’s nascent discography.