Review Summary: While not entirely successful, Trophy Scars debut album is an ambitious effort that tries hard, hitting and missing in equal measure.
Let's face it,debut albums are really important.They create a lasting impression that is hard to kick and can ensure the longevity or instant death of an up and coming band. So creating that good first impression is vitally important. For Trophy Scars
Darts to the Sea does just that, even if the results are decidedly mixed.DTTS does an excellent job of giving us a taste of what is to come for Trophy Scars
. If you are like me, then you just came of listening to their latest release Holy Vacants, an album many have described as one of their greatest yet. DTTS doesn't measure up to the quality of Holy Vacants, and it lacks the smooth polish and expert construction found in therein. It also has a crazier, more wild side to it. Sometimes this works in favor of DTTS, while at other times it is a real hindrance.
The first track, Dreams of New Orleans, is a perfect example of the former. It is ambitious and has a real punk rock flavor to it, brewing with angst and hatred. Dreams also has a wild, over the top sound to it, but in a way that is just focused enough so it doesn't lose the listener in pointless insanity. The song is screamed throughout and has some really nice, clanging guitars to add flavor to the mix. Add in what sounds like two or three people singing and you have quite the descent into insane anger.
Unfortunately many of the follow up songs fail to match Dreams excellently directed craziness. "Rachel, I think he's dead!"They Screamed actually starts out well, but ends up being a bit of a let down and fails to keep the listener interested. This is true of the next few songs as well. Trophy Scars
try hard on these tracks, but unfortunately they suffer from blind ambition. So while the songs are at least unconventional, they also fail to really draw you in. They can drag on and suffer from lack of direction. The ambition to be different and unique is there, and you can hear glimpses of future greatness in these tracks. Unfortunately, their lack of experience is also apparent, and the room for improvement is plain to hear.
But thats not to say DTTS is a misfire, far from it. It has just enough strong tracks to be a worthwhile experience. Hospital for Ghosts is a prime example. The whole song sounds like a schizophrenic nightmare, and as such is deliriously entertaining. Like many of the tracks on this album it well over three minutes long,five minutes and nineteen seconds to be exact, because fuck standard song length. But unlike some of the other tracks in never lags and never goes of course, even while it goes completely batshit crazy. Then comes Eyes Baptized in Mercury, in my opinion the strongest track on the album. From the start the guitars create a sense of melancholy that permeates the whole song. Then the vocals kick in, adding anger and aggression into the stew. By the end of the song the screaming and shouting have reached a heartbreaking level of untapped emotion that is almost too much. Then we go into Baby Eskimo Kisses, which is pretty much it's polar opposite. Composed purely of piano and soft vocals, it is quite different from every other song, and is downright beautiful.Keeping this in mind it is rather unfortunate that the closer, Hosting a Murder fails to differentiate itself and is rather generic, causing the album to end on a weak note.
All in all, Darts to the Sea is a mixed success. Some of the songs are spot on and really stick in your head. Others are just sorta there and fail to leave a mark of any kind. But despite the weakness, the ambition and originality of this group shines strong. They create their own unique sound here and leave a strong impression. And in the end,isn't that what debut albums are supposed to do?