ARTIST: TROPHY EYES
TITLE: THE AMERICAN DREAM
LABEL: HOPELESS RECORDS
WORDS: BECTON SIMPSON
Despite actually being from Australia, Trophy Eyes have just released an album called ‘The American Dream’. A loose concept album telling stories of their personal experiences in America, the band’s third studio album is a pretty big departure from their previous releases, which might not sit well with everyone. On the whole, the album comes across as ‘lighter’, with less frenetic punk energy and fast guitars. This is more Americana alt-rock – it’s all about the song structure, big choruses, the cleanly produced sound, the dramatic breaks and the storytelling. The lyrics contain some beautiful visual imagery and really do tell a story at times, with the songs well written constructed but not always consistent.
‘Friday Forever’ is an upbeat summer pop record, reminiscent of the type of thing Brian Fallon/Gaslight Anthem might put out, whereas something such as ‘More Like You’ is more old school Trophy Eyes with some punk shouty vocals and lyrics about self-loathing. It still sounds incredibly different though, with a backing vocal chorus underneath of “oh oh oh”s which get a little repetitive and annoying by the end, and an unusual bongo type percussion beat. It’s a pretty weird tune; all over the place stylistically. Then we have “some of my friends sell drugs but I just sell sad songs…” which isn’t their best line and feels kind of cringy but ‘You Can Count On Me’ is actually a decent song and it grows on you.
‘A Cotton Candy Sky’ is the shortest song on the album but one of the best – a slow, dark ballad; atmospheric with the sound of rain underneath, and depressing, deep vocals; it could be a lost cut off a Leonard Cohen or Nick Cave record. It’s a wonderful little tune. Check out ‘Symphony Of Crickets’ for another great example of this style. It really works for them. They could make a whole album of tracks like this and kill it. In fact, it’s the slower songs that make the most impact overall. ‘Tip Toe’ is a softly sung guitar ballad full of emotion and with the rawness missing on some of the other tracks, and closer ‘I Can Hear It Calling’ opens up with a twangy Johnny Cash-esque guitar, starting slow then building into a five minute epic heavy finale which seems to combine their old style with their new. The album definitely picks up a bit in the second half with ‘Miming In The Choir’ being another good one – it has that attitude and energy, a catchy melody, and some raucous vocals.
Overall, the album has its ups and downs, but it depends what you’re looking for from a Trophy Eyes record. It’s a mature record which sees them growing and developing, and makes an interesting addition to their back catalogue. It’ll certainly be exciting to see which direction they move in next and it’s heartening to see them writing what they want and putting out music and lyrics which clearly mean a lot to them.