LA Trip is a two-person alternative-rock band hailing from Fredericksburg, VA. They are comprised of Bobby Barber (lead guitarist/bassist/vocalist/lyricist) and Sean O’Neill (drummer). The two practiced only a handful of times before deciding that they would perform some of Barber’s tracks live. By August of this year, they were ready to record and did so in less than a week. They already have huge plans: Two more albums on the horizon and they’re heading to LA once Barber has finished his contract with the Marines.
Their self-titled eleven-track debut release LA Trip opens with “Hey You.” A slow guitar arpeggio grows, supported by a snapping, precise, punchy drum beat and Barber’s lead vocals. This is a melancholic, angst-fueled track boasting such bitter lines as: “Don’t listen to me” and “I’m just a boy with nothing to lose / You’re just a girl / Lost and confused.” While it never builds into a musically-overwhelming crescendo, the heartfelt lyrics and passionate vocals are what progress the song onwards; Barber spirals into the depths of despair by the song’s close.
“Crutch” takes a much different approach to the opener. It’s composed of a smashed-up drum beat, fuzzy guitar and tinny, but electrifying, vocals. This two-minute burst of punk is brought to life by screeching guitars and vocals alike; the peak is the chorus, during which Barber piercingly claims that “You’re my crutch / Yeah, you’re my crutch.” This was a welcome surprise and one which marks a sudden change for the album.
This garage-punk style continues on “Cloud” which is one of the standout tracks on the album. Barber’s vocals really explode into full effect, again making use of the tinny, megaphone effect to blend his powerful voice with distorted guitar chords and create a catchy, noisy mess. An apocalyptic guitar solo emerges from nowhere, supported by crunchy drum filler and unhinged cymbal crashes. Embracing an intensely-dark garage-rock chorus with open arms, this new breed of music suits LA Trip perfectly. They’ve certainly found their sound.
All in all, this self-titled album is a real testament to LA Trip’s abilities. Perhaps the opener could have been something different, but I only say that because the following tracks were so good. I wasn’t quite expecting such a bombastic album at the beginning, but I loved the change in direction. Still, I would’ve been happy with a gentler aesthetic too. I can’t wait to see where LA Trip goes next.
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