The California Bay area seems to be overflowing with musical talent, and a lot
of it leans toward the adult alternative mainstream (Train, Counting Crows,
LUCE). Look closer, and you’ll find a ton of new artists; one that has stood out
is Oakland-based band Tremolo. With its first full-length album, Love is the
Greatest Revenge, Tremolo is poised to make a dent in a very crowded genre.
Fronted by singer Justin Dillon, who at times is a dead ringer for Train’s Pat
Monaghan, Tremolo manages to make hooky music that has its own personality, yet
fits nicely into the mainstream.
Love is the Greatest Revenge kicks off with “New Eyes for a New World,” a
track that brings to mind Talk Talk’s “It’s My Life” at first, but then tends to
repeat the chorus’ melody riff so much that it gets a bit monotonous. “Can You
Feel It Now?” is a jangly, guitar-driven pop ditty that has a memorable hook as
well, and one that might stick in your head all day. These first two tracks are
obviously geared toward making an impact with pop/rock radio, and the rest of
this album is laced with great songs as well. The soaring “Waiting Room” and
riveting “Promise Ring,” the latter of which was featured on MTV’s “Dismissed,”
border on melodic genius. The title track has a Brit pop flair akin to Oasis,
and “Down to Beautiful” sounds like it walked right off of a Train record. “We
are the New Black” is wrought with guitar and electronic keyboard riffs that get
in the way of the song a bit, but “Wait Up For Me” is a powerful ballad to close
out the album.
Tremolo claims to be one of those bands that like to record live in the studio,
without a lot of bells and whistles. The real beauty in that is when the sound
is as full as anything that can be produced synthetically; it lets the real
songwriting and performance come through, and that is the case here with
Tremolo’s debut. Whether or not this Bay area band has any longevity will depend
on a lot of things, but they’ve got the songwriting aspect down, and that should
carry them as far as their work ethic will take them.