Out with the old, in with the new. Trophy Eyes blend reinvention and evolution in new album, The American Dream.
Over the years, Trophy Eyes have earned a devoted following that spans across the globe. This patronage is the fruit of plying their craft tirelessly since day one. The hardcore-heavy Mend, Move On jolted listeners to life and forced them to take notice of this young band with something to say. 2016’s Chemical Miracle saw the band home in on this heavier dynamic and cross over to more pop-punk sound at points. Trophy Eyes evolved. Their songwriting became progressively more measured and considered. This album continues that evolution and showcases a band that aren’t content with resting on their laurels.
Autumn immediately establishes this precedent. On the first listen, the moderately strummed major-key chord progression jarred me just as much as when I first heard My Life On Paper. Of course, the contrast couldn’t be starker. It’s a brave opener to an album, but it’s a statement of intent. You won’t hear the raw, rough-around-the-edges band that you fell in love with and you had best come to terms with it. The chorus is catchy enough to have you humming along by the third time that it rolls around and when it closes the track, it leaves you with a sweet taste in your mouth.
Up next is Something Bigger Than This which opens with gang vocals superimposed over a solitary strummed guitar. Early on, you might draw comparisons with the record’s lead single You Can Count On Me. This track too features a hook that is presented through gang vocals and ultimately serves as the song’s chorus. Understandably, the spotlight lingers on these hooks as these are the parts of the song’s that will stick with listeners, both casual and committed, for the longest. However, the resemblance between these two examples is so tight that you can’t help but feel as though once you’ve heard one, you’ve heard the other. That being said, the deliverance of these choruses is nothing short of anthemic – in this sense, they serve their purpose.
The most recently released single from this campaign is Friday Forever. The verses are carried with itchy palm-muted guitars that hint towards another sizeable chorus. Before then is the “Is this what the clouds feel like?” refrain which sees vocalist John Floreani flirts with his lower register. Naturally, the chorus satisfies as the pace is kept up by Blake Caruso’s incessant patter on the high-hat. It is worth mentioning the video that accompanies this single, the Footloose-esque dancing from a crop-top sporting Floreani has certainly raised a few eyebrows. I’ll let you make your own mind up:
More Like You is a highlight of the album and so it should come as no surprise that the band selected it as the second single to share with us. The shift in pace from the loud and proud Trophy Eyes staple to the sulking, almost tribal feel is so refreshing. Click the highlighted link above for an in-depth look at the track. Broken also plays with dynamic modifications. The verses feel so quiet and progressively build in volume until the chorus breaks. Unfortunately, this is one of the more tepid tracks on the album and sonically won’t tantalise as much as some of the others on offer.
There are three particularly melancholic numbers on the record that are simply outstanding. Cotton Candy Sky and A Symphony Of Crickets are hauntingly intimate and showcase some of the darkest lyrics that Trophy Eyes have ever released. The latter of the songs features lines such as “I’d have killed myself by now if not for you. I know you hate it when I say it, but it’s true”. Words like that stay with you and that’s exactly what these muted segments of the album do. Usually, softer moments on any record will serve to provide respite for the listener, however, here you can’t rest easy. Tip Toe breaks the mould slightly in the sense that it fits a more conventional blueprint of what we expect a ‘song’ to sound like. Nonetheless, the intimacy remains.
The album’s triumph, for me, comes in the form of Lavender Bay. The chorus is incredibly strong and has cemented itself in my brain where it will no doubt sit for weeks on end. Complete with a cheeky key-change new the end, this is definitely one to listen out for, I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up as a post-album release single. Miming In The Choir boasts one of those choruses that has an almost epic feel to it. Accompanied by a string section in the background, it really reminds you just how far Trophy Eyes have come on this record. The backing vocals are the band’s own ‘choir’ and make for a unique and inventive dynamic that you won’t hear anywhere else.
With I Can Feel It Calling, the band reach their perfect cadence. It encapsulates everything that this album serves to achieve. Sonically, it is an exploration of the band’s softer side without shying away from the explicitly visceral capabilities that they are keen to show that they haven’t lost. It’s a confirmation of comfort and pride – with The American Dream, Trophy Eyes have found exactly where they want to be in this current space in time. In the future, we shouldn’t be surprised if the band continue their evolution. Trophy Eyes prove that a band isn’t just a band, nor is it something that can be taken ownership of. A band is a living, breathing entity that will continue to reshape and remould indefinitely.
For tour dates, album pre-orders and merch make sure you hit up: http://www.trophyeyesmusic.com/ .