Trickfinger – She Smiles Because She Presses The Button (Album Review)

Trickfinger – She Smiles Because She Presses The Button (Album Review)

June 14, 2020 0 By Echoes in Audio

John Frusciante may best known for his work with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, however he has written and recorded a huge amount of music either as a solo artist or as collaborations with other musicians.

After leaving RHCP in 2009, Frusciante moved away from his traditional guitar and rock music based creations and focused more on electronic music. Trickfinger is the alias of John Frusciante’s current electronic project – this time taking an Acid House approach.

The first Trickfinger release was an EP, Sect in Sgt, in 2012. This was followed up by albums, Trickfinger and Trickfinger II in 2015 and 2017 respectively. A second EP, Look Down, See Us, was released in March 2020.

The latest Trickfinger album She Smiles Because She Presses The Button was released on 5th June 2020 on the Acid Test Records label.

She Smile Because She Presses The Button

This latest effort features 6 tracks, coming in just shy of 30 mins. Let’s run through each of them:

The opening track Amb sets the focus for the album – this music is driven by the drums and percussive elements. This one is simpler compared to the other tracks in terms of rhythm and an unobtrusive melodic part bounces along throughout.

The second track, Brise, contains a driving synth chord repeating throughout, with ambient synth pads drifting into background. Melody and rhythm parts seem to fuse into one another, with the percussion taking a focal point in the track.

The third track, Noice, opens with a minimal with cymbals, slowly building in intensity, with sampled voice parts and and percussion joining into the mix. Midway through the track the drums shift into a fast breakbeat, playing under pitch shifted right hand synth backing. Frusciante’s melodic and harmonic stylings shine right through at this point. The percussion drops out for the last minute of the track, leaving just the bass and synth melody to interplay in a call and answer type section.

Plane is the standout track for me, however on first listen it’s not entirely obvious what is happening in the music. The bass part is maintaining a constant backing in an 11/8 time signature throughout the track, however the drums shift and force accents which feels like multiple time signatures playing against each other.

Ryhme Four is another strong track on this album, and the strong beat in 4/4 stands out in stark contrast to the ambiguous rhythms of the previous track. Again, the percussions fades well towards the end of the track, giving way to an electronic soundscape which fades to silence.

The album’s final track, SeaYX6, drops the tempo back with a slow moving bass part, with busier drum section. A moving synth melody similar to the opening track features also. Midway through this track, dissonant electonic tones reminiscent of dial up ring tones blend into the music, and the drum part which which enters throws off your centre of rhythm again. This starts to descend into a dark mesh of dissonance filled with glitchy type sounds, and ends with an unsettling discord.

Trickfinger She Smiles album cover
© Acid Test Records

Album Verdict

This is the first proper listen I’ve given to Frusciante’s Trickfinger work, being much more familiar with his traditional solo albums. Despite being quite a stylistic change, you can definitely hear some of Frusciante’s signature blending into this music. Each track has been well crafted, each with a distinct sound. Some tracks definitely have a more mainstream electronic sound like Ryhme Four, whilst tracks like Plane and SeaYX6 take a more experimental approach with IDM elements and make for challenging listening. An impressive piece of work that will lead me towards checking out the previous Trickfinger albums for sure.

What’s your thoughts on the latest Trickfinger album? Comment below and let us know.