Tripwires – Spacehopper

written by: June 26, 2013
Album-art-for-Spacehopper-by-Tripwires Release Date: June 18, 2013


The fuzzy, shoegaze quartet Tripwires from Reading, UK finally released its minimalist debut Spacehopper on June 18 after a six-year stint. Shifting drastically from their old days as a Slipknot cover band, the heavy psychedelic rockers have finally found their place in the music universe (and one that is pretty far out of this world).

Oozing with trippy guitar effects, groovy riffs, and beautiful soundscapes, Spacehopper is a solid freshman album from a band that looks like it has a lot more in store.

Starting off the album with an other-worldly, almost eerie mixture of sounds in the title track “Spacehopper,” the band sets listeners up with a good look at what is to come. The Liam Gallagher-esque vocals and layers of instrumental effects act as a great opener to the rest of the album, and the repeated line “I will let you down” is far from the truth.

Following the mellower intro track, “Plasticine” is full of life and overflowing with power, while a watery lead guitar riff adds a quirky element that is maintained throughout the album. The attention-grabbing track piques listeners’ interest from the start.

It is obvious that Tripwires approached this release with a “less is more” mindset, utilizing guitar effects and echoes to add new dimensions to the music.

“A Feedback Loop of Laughter” is another standout, but the next few songs, including the single “Shimmer,” are where the band begins to fall short. Tripwires stands alone as an original take on a disappearing genre, but its only issue is lack of change within its rigid comfort zone. The songs begin to sound somewhat similar, keeping just enough originality to prevent their being entirely boring.

The album finally picks back up with the mesmerizing “Catherine, I Feel Sick.” The layered, out of sync drums act as an interesting backdrop for a hazy guitar and beautiful melody.

After a smooth transition from “Catherine…,” the slow ballad “Wisdom Teeth” might be Spacehopper‘s best track. It’s by far the most unique in the bunch, with captivating lyrics like the reoccurring line, “Baby, I love you like my wisdom teeth.” Rhys Edwards beautifully sings, “I want to send you to another universe that’s far away” over a soldiering drum line and droning guitar.

The following track, “Tin Foil Skin,” seems promising at first, but is monotonously dragged out over the lengthy eight-minute time frame. It ends up becoming far too repetitive and stale, losing its initial spark.

Finishing off the LP, however, is the entrancing “Slow Mo,” another slow groove that shows off the band’s strong songwriting skills and has a happily prominent bass riff among the slide guitar and enticing vocals. It builds up to a satisfying conclusion for a mostly solid album.

Tripwires did a great job of creating an original product, but could have done a lot more to explore its unique sound and make an album that’s more consistently strong.

All of the songs on Spacehopper are either epic hits or slightly stale copies of the hits—still solid, but lacking the originality of other tracks. Most of the songs, though, are fresh and new. As a whole, Spacehopper is a beautiful creation that takes you to an entirely new place with each listen.

Tripwires – Spacehopper tracklist:

  1. “Spacehopper”
  2. “Plasticine”
  3. “A Feedback Loop of Laughter”
  4. “Shimmer”
  5. “Love Me Sinister”
  6. “Paint”
  7. “Under a Gelatine Moon”
  8. “Catherine, I Feel Sick”
  9. “Wisdom Teeth”
  10. “Tin Foil Skin”
  11. “Slow Mo”