On his new single “Monster,” Ben Trickey begins simply enough, with just a few plucked strings of his acoustic guitar over soft piano and shuffling drums. It’s an understated intro that trods well-worn territory among folk rock singer-songwriters. But the song quickly opens up with a stunning ebb and flow, moving from sparse to full to bursting with the help of multi-layered instrumentation and studio wizardry. Trickey’s vibrato-laden voice is restrained and ominous throughout, coming to a lyrical crossroads of sorts as he croons midway through: “We can walk up to the danger / stare straight into the monster / and take my hand, but you understand / that it won’t mince words or barter.” The warning is punctuated by a moment’s rest before a crashing wall of sound envelops the listener, the beautifully constructed last half of the song conveying a gripping anxiety as tense as any run-for-your-life moment. It’s a fitting sound for a song called “Monster,” the wailing instruments eventually giving way to a quieter drone and tinny refrain that basks in the turmoil and gun smoke of the battle that just occurred. The single is ambitious, dynamic, and richly textured, many steps above the simple man-and-his-guitar fodder that one might expect from a musician daring to go by their actual name. If it is any indication of what to expect from Trickey’s upcoming third full length, Choke & Croon, then we’re in for a real treat.
Choke and Croon is out July 8 on Anthem Breath Records. Pre-orders are available here.
Ben Trickey will celebrate the release of Choke and Croon on June 7 at the Earl. Supporting him will be Jeffrey Bützer and the Bicycle Eaters, Brandon Schmitt, and An English Place. Doors open at 9 p.m.