The Tri-Fives - Won't Back Down (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Tri-Fives

Won't Back Down (2005)


Have attention deficit disorder? Dislike complex song structures? Don't want to bother with intelligent or thoughtful lyrics? Well, friends, I have the perfect band for you. They go by the name of the Tri-Fives, and they play a style of punk rock that would lead one to believe each member of the band has a shrine to Rancid hidden in their closet. All three members of the band have at least a small share of vocal duties, with lead singer/guitarist Billy Anti channeling a more pop-punk version of Tim Armstrong at times.

Not ones to stand by and be categorized as some sort of Rancid tribute band, the guys do infuse some stylistic elements that are far less prevalent in any of Rancid's music. Mainly, the guitars, simple as they can be, do carry a lot of variation. "Five Fifteen" blazes through its length in little more than a minute, with gritty, crunching, and fast guitar work carrying Billy Anti's scowl, whereas "Thick Or Thin" offers up a more melodic tangent, complete with some short but solid clean guitar solos. It's nothing exemplary, but it's good to see that the band has the ability and vision to keep things from being monotonous. They don't need to be guitar visionaries, but just the sense of variation shown is enough to keep me listening.

The title track "Won't Back Down" carries with it a repetitive but fun chorus that's sure to have more people singing along than did Rancid's song of almost identical title, "Fall Back Down." The melodic guitar undercurrents are more pop-punk than what you'd expect given the rest of the album, but it's surprisingly very enjoyable.

Straying away from any sort of surprises or dips in the road for the rest of the album, it allows the band to stick to the melodic punk formula that the rest of the record is based on. This is where things start to run thin, however, as the majority of the variation to be found here was already shown within the first half of the album, leaving the second half to drag. There's still a good number of fun singalongs and driving guitar rhythms, but it's nothing that we all haven't heard 100 times prior to this. Regardless, no steam is lost with the energy, leaving the only other sticking point to be the lyrics. Now, Rancid were never exactly wordsmiths, but "buy a bucket of chicken, have a bucket full of fun / we love to see you smile, finger lickin' good / I'd eat a bucket if I could / but I'd end up in the bathroom every mile" is just a bit too juvenile for my tastes.

Lyrical qualms aside, and excluding the acoustic closing song, which has really only been done without sounding contrived by Alkaline Trio, this isn't a bad effort. If there's still a market out there for this kind of thing, the Tri-Fives shouldn't have difficulty getting their name and music out.