The Rapidian Home

Album review: Signal Trip's 'Songs from the In Between'

Local rock band churns out 70s/80s-inspired good time tunes for the summer season.
Songs From the In Between, album cover

Songs From the In Between, album cover /Courtesy of Signal Trip

Underwriting support from:

Upcoming Signal Trip shows

Fri. June 1, Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts

Sat. June 16, Lukestock 2012 in Zeeland, MI

Sat. June 23, St. Patrick Festival in Ada, MI

(for more info, visit

Live @ GR Festival of the Arts 2011

Live @ GR Festival of the Arts 2011 /Courtesy of Signal Trip

"I've been here before," belts out singer/guitarist Pat Piechocki, on the commencement track of Signal Trip's new record, Songs From the In Between.

The song is the definite article eschewing "Future's Now"—a strummy two chord rock number that straddles a line between modern radio country-rock and 80s hair metal vocal hooks. Track two, “What You Want,” fades in a glittery glam guitar riff, and a Talk Box effect (see Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” or “It’s my Life” for other examples of this).

And Piechocki's right, we have been here before.

As Songs... moves into cut after cut of stock guitar riffs and rock chord progressions—rife with mid-range Marshall-y crunch—Signal Trip sound like the ubiquitous group of middle-aged hobbyist cover band musicians.

Because that's exactly who they are.

That’s not to say they aren’t good at what they do. Jason Sweet's guitar solos are chock-full of stock licks, but that’s what fits best. Kevin Schaefer's drums are big and straightforward. Piechocki's vocals are catchy—it’s only the lyrics that suffer from an overdose of cringe-worthy cliché. The brightest spots of the album are female lead singer Jo Weir's. "Sweet" is probably the best contender for a single on the record.

Overall, the album production is impressive for a local independent release. Producer/Engineer Christopher Andrus and Mackinaw Harvest studios did a solid job dialing in tasty tones and placing instruments in the mix.

Drummer Kevin Schaefer acknowledges that the band hopes to appeal to “children of the 70's and 80's [who may] share many of our influences...Van Halen, AC/DC, Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Poison, Aerosmith, etc.”

The focus on that demographic may just get the band through their festival dates and be enough to have a good time at the local bar, but it doesn’t seem to translate to record sales anymore, despite decent songs and good production. In the year 2012, when I can buy CDs of the above-mentioned bands from my neighborhood BP gas station for $6.99 (and 4/$5 at any used record shop), it doesn’t make sense for a band like Signal Trip to put out a record of originals that merely mimic their set list of decades old “classic rock” tunes.

“In the end, we wanted to produce an album that represents our attitude towards the rock music we love to play,” said Schaefer. “Dark, but approachable; introspective, yet lighthearted.”

In a word, safe.

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.