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If first EP – ‘Everything Goes Away’ – was a small baby step then the debut album from Trophy Eyes – ‘Mend, Move On’ – is a full-grown leap. Recording over at the beautiful Karma Sound Studios in Thailand (seriously, look it up) with Shane Edwards has allowed for the band to sound the best they have ever been.
The group’s style of pop-punk guitar riffs and melodies mixed in with the raw vocal styles and fast, ‘punk’ inspired drums help to give Trophy Eyes a relatively fresh and definitely exciting sound. It really does make them stand out from all of your local pop-punk and melodic hardcore acts. Well, to be fair, they are as fast as Vices and a little less melodic than Endless Heights, but these guys will still make you jump on your friends and finger point madly like singling out the crook in a police line-up.
Two of the album’s best songs are ‘Convalescence’ and ‘Ugly Pattern’ (which also has a nice little ‘bleugh’ in it). These two show short moments where the band’s stronger hardcore tendencies come through and musically, they might remind some of the now defunct, but still fucking awesome UK band, Your Demise.
Now, honesty goes a long way, and vocalist John Floreani keeps things real and sincere throughout. That’s probably the biggest charm of the group, their unbridled passion and honesty in the lyrics and that really does translate across in their music. Like in ‘Responsibility and Structure’ and ‘My Name On Paper’ just to name a few. Speaking of Floreani, the start of ‘Come Clean’ and again on the short burst that is ‘Choke’, there’s actual clean singing from the front man and while it’s rough, it’s a really nice touch to the band’s sound. Hopefully, that won’t be the last the time he tries something like that within Trophy Eyes.
Over the album’s 11 songs can be a bit repetitive towards the end as the band never deviates from their established pop-punk/melodic hardcore sound, but as it’s already such a fine-tuned sound, it’s a criticism that can be somewhat overlooked. Somewhat. Furthermore, the songs never overstay their welcome, so it never becomes a chore to sit through ‘Mend, Move On’; it’s condensed and to the point.
Even though some of the lyrics (like on ‘In Return’ and ‘My Name On Paper‘) can seem quite bleak, Trophy Eyes‘ future is definitely bright, and not dark. As ‘Penfold State Forest’ puts it, ‘I’m tired of writing sad songs, but that’s all that I have left. ‘Cause it’s the things that I reflect on, that make me who I am‘. Bring on the next album and the next load of feels!
Trophy Eyes have taken the solid sound of their EP and have strung it out into an equally solid full-length. Even though the quintet haven’t stepped out of their comfort zone, and while it’s a tad repetitive on the musical side, it’s still Trophy Eyes and it’s still good. So make sure you get in while the going is good.
1. My Name On Paper
2. Come Clean
4. Family Name
5. Responsibility and Structure
6. Best Man
7. In Return
8. White Curtains
10. Ugly Pattern
11. Penfold State Forest