by Ashley Graham
Portland-based band Tri-Polar looks, sounds and acts like the product of an upbringing consisting mainly of classic rock heavy-hitters. You’d never guess that lead singer Craig Montoya’s roots date back to late-nineties pop music--but enough about that. Tri-Polar’s debut is this searing tribute to the rock of the past, in line with the rock of the present. This band plays hard, and if you think you know what that means you may reconsider after the first few notes of album opener “Where Do We Go.”
There are plenty of highlights on the album, including “If This Wreck Will Roll,” “Let Me Know You’re There” and “Glide.” But the most important thing about it might be the vocals of front man Montoya.
Stuck for years behind the bass in the melodrama of pop/rock darlings Everclear, Montoya makes the leap to behind the mic, while still manning the bass, with relative ease--like maybe it was an aspiration all along. The album is tight and fits into the vein of its hard rocking competitors just perfectly. Think a more rustic version of something like Audioslave matched with more rock star lyrics and the attitude of classics like AC/DC.
Tri-Polar is just making their name known in the Portland scene, but the future is wide open for a passionate, driven Montoya and his fellow musicians, drummer Brian Lehfeldt (formerly of Sweaty Nipples) and guitarist Kevin Hahn (The Red Sector). As a former Everclear fan and sometimes-champion of loud, in-your-face, unapologetic rock music, Tri-Polar is most definitely on my ones-to-watch list (and a constant spinner in the ol’ stereo).