The Triplets – Independence Road
I first reviewed a Triplets album in 1991, the group’s Mercury Records release …Thicker Than Water, for the New England-based regional publication College Monthly. Then, this past spring, one of those 25 year-old songs popped up on my phone’s playlist – yes, I still have a couple of those tunes on my playlist – and I was inspired to search for “whatever happened” to The Triplets. The timing was fortuitous, as it turns out they were planning to return to the recording industry and release a new album as The Triplets. So I reached out them, and they were kind enough to allow me to review an advance copy their new disc. Spoiler alert: We should all be glad they’re back!
Album Review of The Triplets: Independence Road
The Triplets, in the ’90s, were a group of extremely talented pop singers, Vicky, Sylvia, and Diana Villegas. In the interim, Sylvia and Vicki have left L.A., embraced Kentucky life, and, as per the title of one of the disc’s songs, become “Countrified.” (Though third Triplet Diana doesn’t perform with the group, she does still co-write with her sisters.)
Indeed, while Independence Road, scheduled for a September release, plays to The Triplets’ vocal strengths and does hint at their pop harmonies of the past to varying degrees on different tracks, the album’s country flavor clearly comes from the heart, representing their current passions.
The title track kicks off the disc engagingly with a train theme, opening the music with acoustic strumming and a gravelly vocal that bleeds emotion, merges into a harmonic duo, and builds to power. The picking will get you grinning, and the rhythm will keep you swaying, while a bit of western-style guitar-picking adds texture. Welcome back to the recording studio, Triplets!
The next cut is full-on country – the aforementioned “Countrified.” Old-fashioned country style is augmented by fiddle and slide guitar, while the lyrics tell the story of the sisters’ transition from big city starlets to heartland country girls, lauding the pleasures of small town country life, at one point singing “I’m a born-again rock-and-roller with a brand new attitude…” After a few listens, you’ll catch yourself singing along to some of the fun parts of this uptempo charmer.
“Night Like This” follows, energetic, harmony-filled, with an uplifting key change and upbeat melody that’ll leave the listener smiling. Next is “Every Breath You Take,” on which the Villegas sisters deliver a bit of a happier-sounding melody than ol’ Sting did, though even with the sweeter harmonies, the song is still just a tad morose.
“Coyote” is one of my favorite songs on Independence Road with its wide-open feel; it’s a contemplative track, with its lyrics well-suited to the open spaces of its musical arrangement. It’s followed by “Wild-Eyed Child,” a mid-tempo number with a sax line and some energetic vocals.
Next up is “Crazy Moon,” probably my favorite track on the album, a high-energy, dance floor-filler with a catchy beat and expressive fiddling that fills the speakers with a country dance party atmosphere.
“Magnolia Street” is a nostalgic track with a cheerful pop energy, while “Maybe Tomorrow” utilizes some of the group’s soft pop instincts in a western-flavored, Latin-tinged ballad.
A really cool nod to The Triplets’ old fans is a slightly countrified reimagining of the group’s biggest hit from the early ’90s, “You Don’t Have to Go Home.”
The disc closes on yet another high note: “All I Need” is a great remake of The Hollies’ “The Air That I Breathe,” showcasing the depth and breadth of The Triplets’ vocal skills – harmonies, smooth transitions, and heartfelt crooning abound.
Independence Road is a terrific return to the music scene by this mysteriously underappreciated, talented group that teetered on the verge of breaking big a couple decades ago. The Triplets’ transition from their old incarnation as instantly-identifiable, harmonizing, song-driven pop singers to instantly-identifiable, harmonizing, song-driven country singers is not as dramatic as you might guess. After all, I only changed one word in my description. Sure, the songs are maybe a bit wiser, but that’s true of most of us two decades on. I’m glad to have The Triplets on the scene again, and the country music scene will be a richer place if they stick around and stay a spell. “Get your boots on!”
Follow and Contact The Triplets
You can like The Triplets on Facebook or e-mail them at TheTripletsBandRocks@gmail.com. Reach out to them to inquire about receiving a signed advance copy of the CD.
You can also check out The Triplets’ website, where you can sign up for their mailing list.