Review – Trifecta – The New Normal – by John Wenlock-Smith

‘The New Normal’ is the sophomore album from Trifecta,the band of Nick Beggs (Bass and Chapman Stick and Vocals), Adam Holzman (Keyboards and Synths) and Craig Blundell (Drums and Percussion). With Beggs and Holzman from Steven Wilson’s band and Blundell from Steve Hackett’s band, this trio craft mainly Jazz/Fusion pieces although this time around there are several vocal track on which Beggs sings, he actually has a really melodious voice.

The majority of these tracks are under three minutes in length but, even so, within those short pieces there is a definite invention and ingenuity within the playing to make something different to what could be expected. Chinese Fire Drill being a good example of this, out of a gentle keyboard melody comes a fiery guitar passage which later returns to the gentle melody earlier heard. Ouch! My OCD is another weird track, with dialogue between Beggs and Blundell on sibling rivalry that is a carry over from the previous track. There’s good use of a didgeridoo that plays a central part to the track too, a very ingenious track this one, another sturdy drum pattern is also important and Impressive here. Other tracks have a funky backbeat and Hammond organ blazing away to fine effect with Beggs’ bass or stick usually propelling the pace of the music from the front. Daddy Long Legs is a really interesting track with a rock solid bass line and some synth noodling from Holzman, all bound in the precision of Blundell’s drums. It’s a most gripping track with a great sound tand classy rhythm.

Also of note is the off kilter, acid jazz feeling, Just feel It Karen. Again, a great bass line from Beggs helps drive this track along and Holzman’s synths dive all over the rhythm section’s propulsive thrust. It’s another ingenious track which shows the formidable talents of Beggs, Holzman and Blundell off to a tee. The interplay behind the trio is highly impressive and extremely musically tight and satisfying, how they manage come up with these odd pieces is a question only they can answer but at least they are prepared to share these fruits of their labour with us, which is all the more rewarding. Once Around The Sun With You is possibly the most normal song of the album as it has a melody and a theme of sorts, whereas Ornamental Lettuce is just plain weird and sounds like something Frank Zappa could have conceived on an off day! This brief, yet very busy, track has a really powerful drum part that makes it stand out.

Canary In A Five and Dime is a song about ex US president Donald Trump and it is not a flattering song for him by any means. Stroboscopic Fennel is another brief but entertaining track with an Interesting tale to tell. Stupid Pop Song brings to mind Beggs’ Kajagoogoo years in style and it’s actually rather good and memorable. Wacky Tobaccy is a more jazzy track with great bass or stick playing throughout. Wake Up Call is another jazzy tune with an almost call and response feel to it and this works well here.

‘The New Normal’ is rather short and yet, within its eighteen tracks is some really excellent and unusual music. Okey, some tracks work better than others but, overall, I would propose that it is definitely much more hit than miss. It’s an interesting release and, whilst I understand it may not be to everyone’s taste, I enjoyed it immensely.

Released 12th April, 2024.

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Trifecta – The New Normal (

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