Triggerman - Learning to Lie (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Learning to Lie (2012)

1124 Records

For many, including myself, Triggerman might not initially whet their musical appetite, especially when one discovers that these songs were written in the early '90s and only recently recorded, thus potentially indicating a band that went AWOL for a long time and are now in the process of getting back together in a nostalgic gesture. However, there is enough quality within the members of this band to pique my interest with SoCal bands like Ignite, Social Distortion, DI and Agent Orange all featuring across respective CV's and this gives the band that element of respectability that gets me curious to hear what they could produce.

This is actually a follow up to a debut album, Dead Like Me, that was released back in 1992 but try as I might I've not been able to track a copy down so I have no idea how, if at all, the band has progressed, regressed or continued to tread a similar path. The one thing that is clear on Learning to Lie is that despite the more hardcore roots of some of the bands members, this is not a loud and shouty punk rock affair. In fact, it would be better to state that the album has a lot in common with Agent Orange, both from the song structure with massive melodic elements aplenty and also in the vocals, both solo and when harmonies kick in. Some of the solo vocals have a discordant quality that again ties in with Agent Orange and I find myself wincing slightly before realizing how if benefits the song in question.

This is an intriguing album that on the initial play other than the obvious Agent Orange comparison didn't really do much for me. However, on subsequent plays elements of songs starting filtering through into my consciousness, building until I was beginning to become fully conversant with a handful of songs and others were still working away on me. What I also noticed was that in addition to the Agent Orange similarity, I also came across elements that reminded me of TSOL and also Dag Nasty (in respect of both Peter Cortner's vocals and some of Brian Baker's guitar work).

Overall, 14 tracks might be two too many here, although the CD does include non-LP tracks so it's not as if this mirrors exactly its vinyl counterpart. The benefit is that among those extra tracks is "Desolation Angel," which is definitely one of the stronger songs on the CD. With one more final reference to Agent Orange, it's interesting to hear the lyric "Bite the hand that feeds" in "One Minute Wonder"–I'm guessing it's a deliberate usage.

The songs certainly have an early '90s feel to them but the modern recording techniques manage to create an album that is actually quite accessible almost 20 years on, and "This Town" (a cover of The Go-Go's track which surpasses the original ), "Last Night" (featuring the best intro on the album), "Flux" and "Target Me" all offer up some strong melodic punk rock that has a timelessness about it.

This might be too melodic and not abrasive enough for some but I do think it's a release worthy of more than a few cursory spins as it is definitely a grower.