Review Summary: Forgiveness is six feet away.
If you were to call me antithetical to hardcore purists, you’re basically dead on. This new school of off-shoots has really sprung the attention of many, yours truly included. Trophywife, a Lansdale, PA based post-hardcore quintet, are no exception. Screamo and hardcore influenced alike, like a more assertive Touche Amore, they certainly pile on the dramatics and emotions of their most heart-wrenching predecessors.
Their new offering, the full length An Innocent Orphan in the Post-Modern World
, reeks of melodic hardcore sensibilities. Rife with melodic, dissonant guitar passages and exhilarating drumming, the band executes their craft with fair dynamic tradeoffs and tempo changes. Even the layman can draw easy comparisons to their contemporaries, but what pulls Trophywife into their own lane is a combination of two things; the ability to share the tonal tendencies of similar bands, yet they create a distinct sound of their own.
An important piece to the puzzle, which can often times be a make-or-break piece, are the vocals of all three members that utilize them. Jeremy Bolm comparisons abound, Justin Harrison comes off much more aggressive. Armed with a powerful, throaty scream coupled with the more than competent singing voices of Danny (guitar) and Dan (another guitar), they operate their way through dejection with aptness and bitterness. Part of the appeal for many with regards to the realm of hardcore comes in the form of a sort of difficult catharsis woven into the fabric of the music (or is that just me?). On An Innocent Orphan
…, you’d be hard-pressed to get the same reprieve you might find in other bands, particularly due to the almost relentless pressure from the music and hardly a break from the passion of screaming and singing.
Despite such disconsolate descriptors, the album still doesn’t bear down or overwhelm. The track “Dusty June” is about the closest you’ll get to their down tempo, post-rock-meets-screamo vibe. Otherwise, it is first degree assault, but you’ll want plenty of it.
A minor kink might play its way into the listener’s brain, but then again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The album seemingly doesn’t vary a whole lot from song to song, keeping a modest pace throughout the 12 tracks. While one might view it that way, another might see it as a band carving a niche or developing a style. Either way, it seems readily apparent that if their style is in a listener’s ball park, the result should be at least relatively satisfying.
Musically equivalent to gasping for air in a panicked state, Trophywife have made a quality addition to the post-hardcore contingent. Sounding fresh, yet instinctive, the band shows much potential and puts forth a good first impression. Eastern Pennsylvania, and the surrounding areas, has had a good track record of producing a lot of good music from such genres herein described. Thankfully, the area hasn’t slept on Trophywife.