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The Trip starting from 'square one'

Australian alt-pop trio play Pemberton Hotel Friday



The eternal bane of Australian acts: no matter how popular they become down under, is that in the U.S. they're just another name.

And so the Sydney alt-pop trio The Trip have decided to set their sights on the world's largest market. Why waste time?

Vocalist Wesley Roy says they've found modest success in Australia, but their goal has always been to "reach as many people as possible."

He says, "There's a guy that we met on the plane who, without naming any names, he's a singer in a popular Australian band and he was moving to L.A. for his solo career and he's literally starting at square one. These guys have gone platinum in Australia and have had number one hits and were headlining festivals."

Their single "On the First Time," a funk-laden pop nugget with a music video featuring the band member's impressive Frisbee prowess, has been featured on mtvU. They released their self-titled debut album through OK!Good Records in the U.S. earlier this month, with a Canada release date set for May.

The album was years in the making. They'd recorded an earlier record in 2007 with Sylvia Massy, best known for her work with Tool, at a home studio in Weed, California.

"We really thought that experience would spark our foot into America," he says.

When they retuned to Australia, they spent the better part of a year touring the songs but weren't satisfied with the results.

"The record was fantastic but it took a while for people to grab onto it. We spent a year in Australia touring it and trying to get some interest in it but we just didn't."

By 2009 they started the process again from scratch, this time with producer Michael Sinclair, with all new songs. They wanted to come up with something more representative of their sound.

The result is

The Trip, a 12-song collection that is, in essence, a soft-rock record for the Internet generation. Not that there's nothing wrong with that at all. Blending indie sensibilities with electro beats and ol' fashioned funk music, The Trip is primed for radio play and almost as much fun as a night on the town.

But Roy says they are not your average microwave-ready pop act.

"We really don't want to sound like any other band," Roy says. "We weren't going to make an album that sounds just like this or every song is going to fit into a formula. It's a mix tape in a way of songs that we love and however they come out is however they come out."

So they've set up shop in the U.S. Will they find the success they're gunning for? That remains to be seen, of course, but it certainly seems like they're having fun in the process.

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