Triangle Exception was formed largely on a whim; and geographical logistics and technical limitations would have prevented the band from existing even as few as 10 years ago.
In February of 2007, Doug Darrell, Steve Wonchoba, and Dave Bilsak took part in the “2007 RPM Challenge,” in which bands attempted to produce an entire album of original music in 28 days.
A daunting challenge indeed, it was further complicated by the fact that Doug and Dave lived 2 hours apart in eastern Pennsylvania, and Steve lived in Minnesota. Sending audio files over email back and forth, the three managed to, after many late nights and pots of coffee, produce a makeshift EP to submit to the Challenge.
While the EP itself was reward enough for the concentrated work, it ignited a great deal of creativity and common musical interests in Doug & Steve. The two were friends in college, but had not seen each other in 15 years. Both fans of progressive rock and alternative adult contemporary, the two went on to expand the EP to a full length album, polishing up and expanding the existing tracks, and creating several new ones, inventing a very unique style and genre.
And all the while, still never having spent a minute in the same room!
The result is Triangle Exception’s debut album, Cheesesteak Walleye, whose title reflects the two regions of the principals: Philadelphia and Minneapolis.
Musical styles? There’s the poppy/tongue-in-cheek Anna Gonna Miss Ya, the radio-ready rock of Schizophrenic, a jazzy instrumental called A Minor Desperate Measure, and some tunes that evoke a mix of jazz, progressive rock, and pop; such as The Foreigner and Chance Meeting.
Bouncing time signatures and progressive influences abound in the lead-off instrumental, Second Ecstasy, and the band stretches their musical chops in the jam-heavy Neon, Marooned.
The album’s finale, Revenge Of The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Suite is an homage to some of Doug & Steve’s favorite bands from the 70's prog rock scene, such as Rush, Genesis, and Yes. An imaginative three part suite inspired by a CNN.com story entitled "Robots Assist In Search For Ivory-Billed Woodpecker," Revenge humorously envisions the wily bird as a superior species bent on world domination. Doug and Steve also drew some inspiration from the early Genesis tune Return Of The Giant Hogweed, attempting to tell an absurd story in the most pedantic way they could.
About the package: Professionally reproduced, with a full color 6-panel insert that contains lyrics and performance credits for each song. The disc itself is full color, directly printed, with graphics and the track list.
Now even more of a chance to avoid buyer's remorse! A review by Tim Jones of The Music Street Journal:
Review by Tim Jones
'Cheesesteak Walleye' is an eclectic collection of various sounds and songs. The sound quality isn't as strong as it could be, but the songs are fun and interesting. A good portion of the album (the portion that Bilsak was involved in) was done entirely within a three-week period. Especially interesting is that Doug Darrell lives in Pennsylvania and Steve Wonchoba lives in Minnesota; they put together this album by emailing audio files to each other.
Triangle Exception is influenced by the likes of Genesis, Phish, Blues Traveler, and Todd Rundgren. On this, their first real album, Doug Darrell plays guitar, bass guitar, and vocals, and Steve Wonchoba plays the prominent keyboards, bass guitar, "drum prog," and vocals. Dave Bilsak makes an appearance and helps with the writing. In fact, for part of the album, he's a full-fledged member of the band.
Track by Track Review
Pretty keyboards are soon joined by drums, guitars, and bass. The same chords and melody repeat and build, and the music becomes a little harder. This song is a repetitive instrumental; it ends softly, with non-repetitive piano.
Anna Gonna Miss Ya
Drums start this one out. The title makes it sound like an old 50's rock song...and that, indeed, is the style of this It's fun stuff, with some definitely non-50's guitar-play going on.
Cool guitars are the order of the day before it quiets down. Intentionally murky vocals sing against a subtle background of guitar and keyboards. The vocals alternate between a Simon and Garfunkel sound and alternative. There are lots of keyboards, including a solo. The music is reminiscent of early Genesis.
This is a good song. A good, catchy, chorus makes it similar to the almost-prog pop stuff of the 1980s. It's unpolished (the vocals aren't always as strong as they could be) but still a gem. Some fantastic guitars and drums support the vocals. It ends with repeats of the chorus and then a great guitar solo.
A Minor Desperate Measure
This instrumental starts heavy on keyboards, with playful, moody guitars breaking in occasionally. Partway through, guitar takes over, and a very cool riff is repeated over and over. The two instruments close the song together, with the help of a simple drum beat. The band describes it as "jazzy."
Keyboards start this one out simply. This is another good song; another 80's almost-prog song. It has cool background vocals. They interrupt the song to experiment extensively with their instruments (ok, so in that respect it's not like an 80's almost-prog song).
Slow drums and then hard guitars are joined by two layers of simultaneous vocals. The background vocals are a bit weak at first, but soon strengthen, and create an interesting contrast with the lead vocals. The guitars repeat the same chord sequence quite repetitively. This is very heavy on bass and guitars, and definitely the hardest song on the album. It ends with a long, drawn-out instrumental section.
Cool distorted vocals start this one out. The song is then taken over by background spoken words, sometimes hard to hear over the guitars, drums, and keyboards. It concludes with a little more alternative-style singing and some interesting, experimental, proggy music.
Here we have an electric guitar instrumental with drums. It sounds like it's entirely improvised. The simple drum contrasts with the crazy guitar.
First we get drums, and then the sound you'd expect with a song called "Skippy O'Leary." It has lots of old-time piano sound and rough blues vocals and is a fun tune.
The Revenge Of The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Suite
If the title didn't somehow give it away, this is a prog song. From the Triangle Exception website (www.myspace.com/triangleexception): "It was inspired by the CNN.com story entitled 'Robots Assist In Search For Ivory-Billed Woodpecker.' In our 3-part tune, we envision the wily bird as a superior species bent on world domination. We also drew some inspiration from the Genesis tune 'Return Of The Giant Hogweed,' attempting to tell an absurd story in the most pedantic way we could." Guitars start this one out. It has a very early-Genesis sound, but the vocals are more 80's almost-prog. It's also (big surprise) the longest track on the album. It's their homage to 70's prog; it also happens to be one of the best songs on the album. Rush influences are very obvious during the instrumental section of the track. Sometimes, all that's going on is pleasant vocals and pretty keyboards. Sometimes it's just drums and guitars. A lengthy instrumental ends the song and the album.