Released on April 30, 2019 (Trixy Tang)
For the longest time, I have equated Trixy Tang as the hard working Michigan, USA based rock band that plays a ton of shows in its home state. How hard working are these guys? They have at least one show lined up for practically every weekend from January to mid-June 2020 with many additional dates for the remaining months in 2020. That is very impressive in itself. I confess that I never really gave Trixy Tang much of a chance as their happy go lucky tunes didn’t really resonate with me after a few initial casual listens. I knew that I enjoyed the band’s songs but nothing really stuck… until the group sent its self-titled album to the Sleaze Roxx headquarters. I was surprised by how good Trixy Tang‘s album was as a whole and even though there was a definite good time / party feel to the album — and there’s nothing wrong with that as Van Halen had a brilliant career focused on that — a lot of the songs were actually heavier than I thought.
When Trixy Tang‘s self-titled album arrived, I was initially a little bit confused as the cover for the record (check out the photo here and imagine the Trixy Tang logo in yellow to the top left along with a “Parental Advisory Explicit Content” sticker to the top right) is different than what can be found on Amazon. Once I was able to put my head around that both albums had the same track list and were indeed the same record, my confusion quickly dissipated. I noticed as well that I was quite familiar with a couple of songs on the record including the stand out and very different “Sunday Cruisin'” and again, I eventually figured out that the group had released a four song EP titled Summer Cruisin’ in early 2018 and those four EP tracks — “Lust”, “Sunday Cruisin'”, “Whiskey Women” and “My Night” — all made their way onto the self-titled album that was released this year. While I am not a big fan of bands doing that, it didn’t bother me this time around since I never did listen to the EP as a whole beforehand and the four songs from that EP are all very good.
With a little digging, I learnt that the band line-up has undergone a major overhaul with singer Klay Fennema the lone man standing from the line-up from back in early 2014, and the arrival of bassist Kevin Turner and guitarist Rey Hernandez has had a tremendous impact on the band. I say this with confidence because Turner has either written all of the music or has a co-writing credit for the music on all of the songs on Trixy Tang‘s self-titled album. Turner also has written or has a co-writing credit for the lyrics on eight of the 11 tracks. Hernandez has co-writing credits for the music on five of the 11 songs on the record. Fennema — who presumably is the band founder — “only” has four writing or co-writing credits for song lyrics on the album. I do note that it appears that Trixy Tang started as a covers band and over time has morphed into the group that it is today. Clearly, Turner and Hernandez have had a huge impact on the band as the songwriting is top notch. How good is the songwriting? Well, Trixy Tang‘s songs remind me in some ways of Steel Panther songs in that they are really well crafted, have very strong melodies and are just really fun to listen to. If you’ve read some of my Steel Panther album and concert reviews from the past, you know how much I like that band’s songs!
Getting back to Trixy Tang, and as previously stated, there is a real good time / party feel to the tracks on their album. There’s also some soaring guitar solos from Hernandez (check out the opening track “Fade Away” as an example), which give the songs a real ’80s flavour to them. Throw in Fennema‘s great voice, party flavoured comments (such as on “Lust” where you can hear him commenting to his bandmates about a female) and falsetto screams, and you can understand why I’m so excited about this album. In fact, Fennema seemingly goes from first to fifth gear on many occasions during songs singing away before letting out these high pitched screams (check out “Fade Away” and “Rock Me Pop Me”). I could go on and on about each song on Trixy Tang‘s self-titled album but let’s just say there’s no weak track on the record. I even like the acoustic ballad “Mother Mary” and that’s mainly due to Fennema‘s terrific vocal performance on that track.
The standouts on Trixy Tang are the opener “Fade Away” (with Hernandez‘s excellent guitar soloing through the song), “Sunday Cruisin'” (which would be a Top 10 hit if released back in the heyday of the ’80s), the upbeat “Jealousy” and the groovy and melody filled “Whiskey Women.” That being said, all of the tracks are all quite solid and it’s an album that I now always look forward to listening in its entirety. I wish that the province of Ontario in Canada had a hard working band like Trixy Tang who play live seemingly every weekend in the state of Michigan. I have no doubt that playing live on such a regular basis is a big reason why the band has released such a stellar self-titled album. While Sleaze Roxx didn’t afford much coverage to Trixy Tang in the past (I’ll take the blame in that regard), that clearly won’t be the case anymore.
01. Fade Away
04. Sunday Cruisin’
05. My Life
06. After Party
07. Whiskey Women
08. Mother Mary
10. Rock Me Pop Me
11. My Night
Klay Fennema – vocals
Kevin Turner – bass
Rey Hernandez – guitar
Chris Rajt – drums
Dan Premo – drums (2, 4, 7, 11)
Justin Rimer – acoustic guitar (8), keyboards (8)
Recorded by Trixy Tang
Produced, engineered and mixed by Justin Rimer
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, December 2019
Trixy Tang‘s “Fade Away” live video:
Official live music video for the new song “Fade Away”. Filmed at Park Theatre in Holland, MI by White Knuckle Films.
Trixy Tang‘s “Sunday Cruisin'” video:
From the new EP Sunday Cruisin’ available now! Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5GjLxPJxgaIZ6jnQAhWjv4 Site: https://www.trixytang.com Video by White Knuckle Films: http://www.drakewhelton.com/