Punk reggae trio THE TiPS from Dusseldorf Germany offer an interesting mix of styles not much associated with Germany. THE TiPS have a great sound combining chill, off-beat reggae vibes with soulful guitar solos as well as clear honest vocals for good measure. TWISTS’N’TURNS is the bands 3rd album after TRIPPIN which they released in 2013.
Not only do you get to hear the great musicianship of the trio on this album, the first track ‘Birds in Trees’ features Benji Webbe of Skindred on vocals. This track gives a misleading intro as it starts with ambient sounds from the keyboards as the vocalist sings briefly before progressing into a powerful combination of deep harmonious guitar and bass riffs with the intense bass of the drums. Just as you are lead to think this is going to be a power ballad all instruments drop out and Ali returns with the vocals and the instruments come back in with a reggae pulse with offbeat guitar riffs and gentle beats from the drums. The two styles of reggae and intense rock alternate with each other leading to a climactic point where Benji Webbe has his moment to shine with his gruff rapping speech style vocals with heavy drums and more distorted guitars.
TWISTS’N’TURNS is built upon tranquil reggae beats and truthful lyrics giving an insight into what is going on in the world, issues which can often be ignored. For example the issue of immigration is the focus of ‘Leaving Home.’ Despite such serious issues being expressed the mood remains calm and relaxed and not too intense which can always be a danger but is not a problem for their sleek musical expression.
Despite reggae beats being the main foundation of their album, THE TiPS also incorporate a different fusion of styles like funk, blues and soul. The best blues moment occurs in ‘Wasting Time’ which opens with a soulful bluesy guitar solo with palm slaps in between each melodic idea.
The tempo increases in ‘Parade’ where the guitar riffs are more driving with an active bassline causing tension with a continued ‘wrong note’ which has a great effect. They add a funk touch to ‘Back in the day’ with guitar blurring effects, a greater concentration on the symbols and a strong bass melody supporting the funky track. Then it’s completed with almost a gospel style section with vocalisations from a group singing out over the bassline before the lead vocalists returns with the chorus.
This album is a great listen if you want something to sit back and chill getting stuck between the syncopated reggae riffs and lost within the expressive vocals and brilliant solos.