Trophy Eyes - 'The American Dream' Album Review
2. Something Bigger Than This
3. Friday Forever
4. More Like You
5. A Cotton Candy Sky
6. You Can Count On Me
8. Tip Toe
9. Lavender Bay
10. Miming In The Choir
11. A Symphony Of Crickets
12. I Can Feel It Coming
Trophy Eyes are a new band to me even though they have released two prior full length albums and a couple EPs. Hailing from Australia, they offer their own brand of Pop Punk that honestly fits right at home on Hopeless Records with the likes of The Wonder Years, Neck Deep, Bayside, etc. As I wait and try for the latest by the Wonder Years to click with me like their previous works, this album is helping fill that gap in my current musical puzzle. Lyrically is really where this type of music can move me as I want to hear some introspection and be made to think in the same way as the Hold Steady, Frank Turner, and the aforementioned Wonder Years. Trophy Eyes create this kind of depth here and will have me scavenging their back catalog in the future.
‘Autumn’ gets us started in the best of ways, especially at this time of year with John Floreani painting us a picture with the lyrics. I can actually see the dead leaves in the pool at the beginning. This chorus is huge with the hook of ‘Don’t let those sad songs rot your brain’ providing a brief moment of light. ‘Something Bigger Than This’ opens with the backing vocals before the music and immediately reminded me of Frank Turner. This rocker combines hook after hook from the verses to the pre-chorus to the chorus; this song is huge and has single written all over it. ‘Friday Forever’ is one of many songs that highlights the vocals of John Floreani’s baritone verses and soaring choruses. For people in my somewhat older age range, I am transported back to my younger days in places but also able to tie these sentiments to the current time period. One of the other albums that has always had this effect on me is ‘The 59 Sound’ by the Gaslight Anthem.
Trophy Eyes up the tempo at the beginning of ‘More Like You’ and pair it with LARGE backing vocals on the chorus for maximum effect with the chorus feeling more like a chanted mantra. ‘A Cotton Candy Sky’ opens with some minimal piano and instrumentation for a very melancholy late at night type of feel. The quiet spoken vocals pulling the listener closer to the speaker over the course of its two minutes before the opening chorus of ‘You Can Count On Me’ brings in this contagious rocker that again finds the band layering hooks in different parts of the song. The lyrical hook of ‘Some of my friends sell drugs, but I just sell sad songs to the ones that feel alone; you can count on me when it all goes wrong’ is brilliant, insightful, clever, and puts a smile on my face every time. If you have ever looked to music for solace, this song has your name on it.
Opening the back half of the record, ‘Broken’ feels a little more formulaic to me than the other songs with the quiet verse and the large chorus. Something about this one just doesn’t grab me the same way. ‘Tip Toe’ quiets things down again for its intro with soft singing barely lifting above the acoustic guitar. The melody does not cut into your brain as much as it slows sinks in with repeated listens. The transition to full volume really is timed well as the album suddenly has a danger of feeling like it has slipped on Side B. ‘Lavender Bay’ really hits the sweet spot though with some echoing vocals added for effect, and the chorus should provide some singalong moments live. This is another song that channels a bit of ‘Tapedeck Heart’ era Frank Turner with a healthy dose of lyrical longing.
As we approach the final quarter of the album, the rather clever titled ‘Miming In The Choir’ has a quiet intro that feels a bit like the Wonder Years. The Punk burst around the minute mark is adrenaline inducing, and this is again another example of lyrical excellence. ‘A Symphony Of Crickets’ is another short song that feels a bit like sitting outside by the fire as someone slowly picks the guitar and sings whatever words are coming to mind at the time, but this is someone that does it effectively and not like the worst thing ever. Closer ‘I Can Feel It Calling’ is a six minute epic that is one of my favorites from the album. Beginning slowly musically and vocally before some raging vocals eventually explode out of the speakers. The backing vocals sound huge and provide an additional lift to the song. The dynamics return for the next verse with the eventual outburst back to the frenetic chorus. This closes the album down in style.
Trophy Eyes have found a way to stand out in this sometimes cluttered feeling genre with their lyrical excellence, outside influences, and own identity. Many songs from this album are going to be featured on my playlists for the rest of the year. While I feel the album loses momentum at the midway point, the band does right the ship to my ears creating an enjoyable album with a lot of replay value.
Website - http://www.trophyeyesmusic.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/trophyeyesmusic/
Review - Gerald Stansbury