Overall Score: 9/10 Variety: 9/10 Vocals: 9/10 Choruses: 8/10 Pros: Lovely, lovely strings Cons: Took me a solid 3 weeks to figure out why ‘More Like You’ sounded so familiar
In a climate where a lot of pop-punk (emo/melo-hardcore/whatever-you-want-to-call-them-core) bands are sounding like their contemporaries and not doing much to change things up, people are crying for bands that are doing something different, and along come Australian 5-piece Trophy Eyes. Whilst their debut certainly wasn’t anything unique, they’ve always been very good at what they do. With the release of ‘Chlorine’, they began to find a sound of their own, and this year they have built on that even further. And oh MY have they built on it. Whilst it’s clear where some of their inspiration has come from, this is certainly an album that Trophy Eyes can call their own.
From the offset it’s clear to see that this album is a massive departure to 2016’s ‘Chlorine’. It opens with ‘Autumn’ which is very upbeat and is already introducing strings and a big chorus to boot. Not to say that their sophomore album doesn’t have big choruses, but Trophy Eyes have really stepped it up this time around and this is something that is echoed throughout ‘The American Dream’.
Three tracks into the album and it’s obvious that Trophy Eyes have their sights set on bigger things. ‘Friday Forever’ kicks in with guitars and even a vocal delivery that wouldn’t sound out of place on Thirty Seconds To Mars’ ‘This Is War’, add in the echoing drums and the soaring melodies and you’ve got a track that’s built for arenas as well as album closer ‘I Can Feel It Calling’. Expect both of these to be staples in future setlists.
‘More Like You’ in particular is a track that sticks out. There’s something quite beautiful in the juxtaposition of the song starting out like a regular ol’ Trophy Eyes song, having vocalist John Floreani screaming the words “I never asked to be born in this skin draped over me / Am I as ugly on the outside as what’s living underneath?” before then going into tribal sounding drums and a chant of “More like you, less like me” that can only be described as being somewhat reminiscent of Rusted Root’s 1995 single ‘Send Me On My Way’ (Yes, the one in Matilda). It works brilliantly and is only complemented further with the gang vocals peppered on top of it, something that is again featured throughout the album on the likes of ‘Something Bigger Than This’ and lead single ‘You Can Count On Me’.
We also see a much softer and more calm side to Trophy Eyes on this album. We’re first introduced to this with ‘A Cotton Candy Sky’ which is nothing but a foreboding piano and Floreani singing very softly on top of it. ‘Tip Toe’ feels more like a ballad, starting off with guitar before seeing the introduction of strings, more of which is heard in ‘A Symphony of Crickets’ with some beautiful harmonised vocals.
Trophy Eyes have well and truly outdone themselves with this album. We get to see so many different sides to this band on one album and it all goes together perfectly like an album should. There is a lot packed onto this album and it’s gonna take a few listens to take it all in, whether that’s a subtle note being played on a piano or something as obvious as the gorgeous key change in ‘Lavender Bay’, it won’t be hard to find something on this album that’s sure to prick up your ears.
The American Dream is out now on Hopeless Records.