“Test Trip” is an energizing journey to the razor-thin line between chaos and precision of sound, led by the incredible and eclectic Irish dream-grunge trio Bitch Falcon.
Bitch Falcon was formed in Dublin Ireland by frontwoman Lizzie Fitzpatrick in 2014. Since then, the band has been a mainstay at festivals, and has been drawing crowds in Ireland, Europe, Canada, and The U.S. Fitzpatrick recruited the rhythmic powerhouse team of Barry O’Sullivan on Bass and Nigel Kenny on Drums to solidify Bitch Falcon’s sound, and what a sound it is.
From the very beginning of their latest single “Test Trip” it becomes abundantly clear just how in sync the rhythm section of this band is. Barry O’Sullivan and Nigel Kenny set the foundation of this song off to a heart-pounding, adrenaline-raising start, with Fitzpatrick adding ethereal guitar sounds, and a haunting vocal performance to take the song to another level.
There’s a real sense of urgency, fear, excitement, and confusion that seeps into the verses of the song. The arrangement and musical choices the band makes intensify the emotional journey on which the listener is taken throughout the track. O’Sullivan’s base playing acrobatics definitely become a focal point as his riffs sit at the forefront of the mix. He draws the listener’s attention at every turn of the song, sounding like a combination of Flea, Sting, and Mike Dirnt of Green Day. O’Sullivan ads flavour and texture to the arrangements as opposed taking his ques from the rest of the band, and staying locked in to Kenny’s rhythm.
The chorus comes in and the entire track takes on more of that grunge/punk sound as Kenny’s rhythm changes to a more four-on-the-floor style of playing. This creates the sensation that the track is speeding up which is only intensified by the rapid-fire bass lines, and the inspired, emotionally raw vocal performance of Fitzpatrick. You can definitely tell that Fitzpatrick has a firm grasp on the emotional levels in her voice beautifully accessing different qualities to match specific moments in the song.
The middle 8 feels more like a free fall as the band starts to play around with dynamics. Kenny continues the heart bounding rhythm but focuses on playing it on the high-hat, leaving more space for the track while still keeping with the emotional intensity of the song overall. O’Sullivan’s bass playing becomes even more precise, allowing for more space in the mix while still keeping the track’s pulse and forward momentum alive. As soon as Fitzpatrick’s vocals come back into the track, in the second part of the middle 8, the bass and the vocals start a call and response. Fitzpatrick starts mimicking the previous bass line with her vocal melody and then sets up a new pattern that O’Sullivan repeats after. All of this serves to build the track, with increasing intensity, as Kenny’s drum part reverts back to the chorus pattern.
Then when the final chorus kicks in, the entire sound turns into a ticking time bomb of exhilarating chaos that eventually explodes before the track’s abrupt ending. Kenny’s drumming sets the tone as he begins playing more complex rhythmic structures to build the intensity of the track. It starts to feel like all of the instruments including Fitzpatrick’s voice are fighting each other to be the focal point of the music, adding to the mounting tensions. This tension and competition transform into a celebration of chaos and sound as the track explodes into the final half of the final chorus. Kenny completes this transition by moving from his complex drum beat to playing sixteenth notes throughout the remainder of the song, signaling to the band and the listener that this musical journey is coming to a close.
At first, when I read that Bitch Falcon defines themselves as a dream-grunge band, this definition led to more questions than answers. What I was going to get when I listened to the track? After listening to “Test Trip” not only was I completely blown away by the band’s sound, musicianship, and unique approach to music, I completely understood and agreed with their definition. If you like heart-pounding, emotion-fuelled rock music, you should definitely check out Bitch Falcon’s new single.