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ìIt may be an east coast thing.î ñJon Strader
Itís a simple formula, really. Put five guys together in a basement for four years. Throw in a strong work ethic and a bit of humility. Then top it off with music filled to the brim with relevance, catchiness, and honesty, and what do you get? Youíll get a band that has a chance to break through the radar and actually leave its mark on the world above them. Youíll get No Trigger. And since their quiet beginnings four years ago, this five piece out of central Massachusetts has done just that. Theyíve managed to take their music and their message out of their east coast basement and into the ears of fans worldwide.
With the release of their debut EP Extinction In Stereo in 2004, the band has mustered the strong support of fans in both Japan and North America with songs rooted in social, ecological and personal themes. And not surprisingly, these same themes continue on their debut album, Canyoneer. ìWe just wanted to write an album that cemented our ideas, both musical and thematic, in a relevant way,î says singer Tom Rheault. ìI think we succeeded ten-fold.î
The songs on Canyoneer range from infectiously driving to lightning fast, each of them containing an underlying message which slowly resonates to the surface. The song "More To Offer" for instance, "simply deals with the inequalities of gender-specific voices within underground music," Rheault says. ìWhen a majority of bands you see are filled with men, those are the only points of view you get when you read their words and listen to their music. This song deals with that misfortune.î To avoid hypocrisy, the band enlisted the talents of female vocalist Hayley Helmericks, driving the point home. "Hayley had a flat-out terrific voice, and she really helped complete that song and made it stand out in a great way. We were so psyched on how it came out."
"You Said It" is a driving, switch-tempo song, complete with strong gang vocals and a catchy, melodic breakdown where a direct response to the inappropriate use of homophobic derogatory slang is used to confront its source. "That song is great because itís short, pissed off, and the message is completely clear," says Rheault. "Itís about as straightforward as you can get."
No Trigger is under no delusion where and how they fit in the history of punk and hardcore. Proof that the band knows their place, Canyoneer opens by slowly fading into feedback and then bursts in with an old school, fast as hell, Dag Nasty-esque riff. An appropriate beginning to the song titled "The (Not So) Noble Purveyors of the Third or Fourth Coming," which traces the band's discovery of punk rock at an early age, and highlights their self-conscious attempt at adding to the pantheon of a well-established scene. Rheault explains, "While writing the album and knowing we'd be working with Bill [Stevenson] and Jason [Livermore], it just struck me one day that the first true punk song I ever heard was a song by The Descendents. It was that one song that got me into this type of music in the first place. So "The (Not So) Noble" deals with the crazy full-circle reality that was taking place. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around how cool it all is."
Such an attitude attests to the band's modest approach to their music. But the end result is a band putting their music where their mouths are and, not-so-quietly, the album pushes forward and proves No Trigger are no mere footnote. Twelve solid tracks. A mix of punk and hardcore. No filler. Aggression, energy, and melody all intact. Itís a simple formula, but it seems as if No Trigger have perfected it.
Canyoneer itself comes full-circle and is book-ended by the song ìTundra Kids,î reflecting on where this will all lead. Rheault adds, ìThat song deals with what we had to give up to make this album possible, but also what lies ahead because of our sacrifices. And weíre pretty pumped on whatever the hell that may be.î And that's exactly what No Trigger plans to do. They'll leave behind their jobs and college degrees, and venture into the unknown to carry the torch lit by bands like Minor Threat and Lifetime, spreading their vision to all who will listen. It just may be an east coast thing indeed.