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Tricks take theirs on road

By Sean Clancy

This article was published July 5, 2012 at 4:32 a.m.


Members of The Tricks are (from left) Jason Griswold, Gabe Smoller and Alexander Jones.

— Little Rock pop-punk trio The Tricks celebrate the release of its eponymous debut CD tonight with a show at White Water Tavern. It’s also the first show of a mini-tour of the state that will take the band to Fayetteville, Eureka Springs and Hot Springs to spread the word of its tight, catchy and energetic debut.

Together for about a year now, The Tricks are Gabe Smoller, 23 (guitar, vocals), Alexander Jones, 23 (bass, vocals) and Jason Griswold, 28 (drums). The band is no stranger to local stages, having played with Little Rock hip-hop hero 607, fellow rockers The See and others.

Produced by Jason Tedford at his Wolfman Studios in Little Rock, the self-released The Tricks was recorded over four days and is a lean, hook-filled album of pure indie pop attitude and swagger.

There’s def initely a Weezer influence; this is, after all, accessible, altinfluenced rock. But it’s safe to say The Tricks also have their own thing going on and aren’t afraid of mixing in some earnest jangle (“Pay to Play”) or sly funk (“Sorghum,” which also features a guitar line that is achingly familiar) into their bag of, um ... oh, fine, we’ll say it, tricks.

Smoller and Alexander share songwriting duties and both know what to do with a good melody, though lyrically things are often vague. Griswold, who has manned the kit in Richmond Bread Riot, No Hay de Que and Pink Drapes, propels the songs with authority.

The band really nails its approach on “Marjory,” which opens The Tricks. It has one of those slow-building structures that finally erupts in a completely satisfying release that will have you dancing and/or banging your head with joy.

“Words Are for Robots” is another highlight and seems to be, on the surface at least, about being misunderstood and the frustration of dealing with the inanity of certain people.

We were also drawn to “Newspaper Sluts,” and not just for the title. The groove-centered entry name-drops Don Draper and also sports a wicked bass line and drum work.

The Tricks are searching for a label, but in the meantime the album will be available at thetrickslr.bandcamp. com starting July 6.

The Tricks

Opening act: Don’t Stop Please

9:30 p.m. today, Whitewater Tavern, 2500 W. Seventh St., Little Rock

Admission: $5

(501) 375-8400

Weekend, Pages 26 on 07/05/2012

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