Review Summary: An essential listen for anybody who enjoys heavy British rock music in 2021
I once described Trash Boat's 2016 single "Strangers" as the UK Pop-Punk equivalent of Gareth Bale's coming of age display at the San Siro where he announced himself on the world-stage with a hat-trick at the San Siro. "Don't You Feel Amazing?" is Gareth Bale coming off the bench to score an unbelievable over-head kick in the Champions League to remind the British rock scene that not only do Trash Boat still exist, but that they should be taken seriously as one of the very best heavy bands that the UK has to offer in 2021.
Trash Boat's third full-length album was recorded at the ICP Studios in Belgium during lockdown, with the band adding some pedigree by bringing in Grammy award-winning producer and 'A' lead vocalist Jason Perry. Perry, in recent times has helped catapult Don Broco into arenas having produced a hat-trick of albums that have continuously improved Broco's sound with each effort.
This record is a massive step up from Trash Boat's sophomore record "Crown Shyness", which saw the band attempt to branch out from their pop-punk roots with a heavier sound. Whilst it was by no means a bad record, aside from a few stand-out tracks there wasn't anything on there that cemented the record in people's hearts, minds or memories. It wasn't as good a pop-punk record as the Dan "Soupy" Campbell produced debut "Nothing I Write You Can Change What You've Been Through" and it wasn't an interesting another heavy album to help Trash Boat transcend the pop-punk scene they'd already successfully cemented themselves in.
"Don't You Feel Amazing?" is an absolutely incredible step-up for Trash Boat, who with the help of Jason Perry seem to have really found their own sound with this record. It's quite difficult to give exact reference points for who this sounds like as whilst a lot of it seems familiar, there really aren't too many bands doing this heavy radio rock type sound to this kind of level at the moment. The general vibe seems very much inspired by Alexisonfire, mixed up with a bit of Royal Blood, Muse and old school Papa Roach.
The stand-out track of the album, and the one song you should listen to if you're on the fence about giving this a try, is the second track "Silence is Golden". A drastic departure from what's come before, this song incorporates heavy riffs and screams, whilst still keeping the melodic elements that make the chorus for this track one that fans across the UK have been singing back to the band at every festival and tour they've played in the last 6 months, which began in a tent at the UK government Covid trial-event Download Pilot Festival, saw them sell-out their biggest ever headline show at the 1,500 capacity Electric Ballroom in Camden and even hit the dizzy heights of the 10,000+ all-standing Alexandra Palace venue in support of Enter Shikari just a few days ago in London.
"He's So Good" is another big stand-out moment on the record, as lead singer Tobi Duncan sings about the injustice and homophobia that people can sometimes encounter from their parents. Tobi, who himself identifies as bisexual, has stated in an interview with Kerrang that this song was inspired by a romantic encounter on the road with a guy who had struggled with having feelings for men growing up in rural America where he feared being gay would make him an outcast. Duncan himself has never felt judgment from his family for his lifestyle choices, in 2002 his uncle Alan, officially "Sir Alan" since his knighthood in 2014, even became the first publicly gay sitting member of the UK parliament from the Tory party. There is nothing conservative about "He's So Good" though, as Trash Boat deliver a hard-hitting LGBTQ+ anthem for the ages, pulling no punches, with "his father so austere, his boy's a ***ing queer" adding a bold and brave lyrical punch in the hook of the chorus.
The album brings a lot of passion and energy, with the opening title-track, "Vertigo" and "Alpha Omega" all keeping up a relentless pace and anger that has transferred over excellently in the band's live show incorporating the album since it was released. "Bad Entertainment" sees a guest feature from Wargasm's energetic Milkie Way, who has joined Trash Boat on numerous shows to perform the upbeat track live, with one live-stream event for the Heavy Music Awards featuring a performance of the track even being shut down by Twitch due to Milkie's nipples allegedly being a breach of indecent exposure. Duncan took this opportunity to call out the double standards shown in the sexualisation of women in the entertainment industry, given that his own outfit had exposed his nipples which the stream hadn't been shut down for previously.
"Synthetic Sympathy" is the penultimate track on the album and is another stand-out song. The track tells Tobi's story addiction to pain medication that he used in his mid to late teenage years and early twenties. At the age of just 15 he tore his anterior cruciate ligament whilst playing rugby, with the injury proving so bad that that even to this day over 10 years later Duncan still lives in almost constant pain, telling Kerrang earlier in the year that "there's never a day where it goes below a 5 out of 10". "Break me out, break me out" Duncan sings on this track, which plays its part on a third album that has already started to help Trash Boat break out into the British rock scene.
If you've seen this album talked about or mentioned so far this year and you've let it pass you by because you thought Trash Boat were just that pop-punk band you didn't really like that much, then you need to think again and give "Don't You Feel Amazing?" a chance, because as British rock records of the last decade go, it really is amazing.