I remember a few years ago, seeing Wil Anderson’s response to the news that Mike Myers was working on a sequel to Goldmember; the Gruen host simply tweeted “Horse, flogged, etc”, or something to that effect. If I’d been told of the genre (the punk/hardcore/metalcore general mishmash) that Trophy Eyes found themselves in before I reviewed their album, I would’ve been rolling my eyes saying the same thing. Thankfully though, Trophy Eyes have managed to put out a hardcore record, the first one I’ve heard in a while that shows an honest and self-affirming edge to it.
Mend, Move On sees Trophy Eyes craft a mature, coherent debut album and places them within reach of becoming one of hardcore’s greats.
The lads from Newcastle produce a sound that doesn’t seek to bait lazy ears with the simplistic screaming highs and crooning lows, compulsory half-time breakdowns and whiny, immaturely irresponsible and often misogynistic lyrics that have become a grating trope of modern hard and fast bands.
In a positive sense, the best thing about Mend, Move On, is Trophy Eyes’ insistence on rocking. Simple as that, really. Instead of aiming for a ‘mad riff + mad breakdown’ method of songwriting, it seems the five lads from Newcastle have returned to the simple act of rocking out. This gives their album a certain vitality, as it feels healthier listening to this far more organic and thicker sound. In the wide world of hardcore/metalcore, this places these upstarts in the same category as hardcore gods Converge and recent Norwegian wunderkinds, Kvelertak.
Impressively, Mend, Move On is a coherent album with a fully-formed sound. There’s licks of extreme metal here, hardcore power there and some other parts of pop-punk influence the band ascribes to (they describe themselves as their own “Combination of aggressive pop punk and melodic hardcore”). In every song on the album these influencing factors are always together as whole, which is a very good thing to have especially as a raw, young band. It indicates maturity, vision and artistic confidence. Perhaps the only time when we see this compound faltering is in penultimate track Ugly Pattern, where the metal/pop punk seems to separate itself into ‘A’ and ‘B’ stories.
Another refreshing approach these boys take, and something that always personally sticks out, is their approach to lyrics. Quite unlike many similar bands that use their breakdown, build-up or a lull as a pulpit to announce one of their whines – Parkway Drive’s “Cry me a river..bitch!” is a stand out example – Trophy Eyes humbly stick to telling their own story of contrition (the singer occasionally mentioning his mum is cute, too).
For example, White Curtains manages to describe a failed romance without coming across as a) arrogant or b) misogynistic, a trait they share with hardcore greats Converge – Mend, Move On also seemingly follows a relationship concept well, similar to the fantastic opus, Jane Doe.
There’s little left to say. Try out the aforementioned White Curtains, or the opening and closing tracks (My Name on Paper and Penfold State Forest) to bring you up to speed if you’re not an album person, which you should be. Because Mend, Move On is brilliant.
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