Trash Boat – ‘Crown Shyness’

By Renette van der Merwe

When Trash Boat crashed the punk party back in 2014, the five-piece from St Albans quickly became synonymous with the bigger names in the scene. Leaning towards punk rock, they injected the predominantly American pop punk scene of the time with the visceral energy of EP ‘Brainwork’, before releasing their stunning debut ‘Nothing I Write You Can Change What You’ve Been Through’ in 2016.

Two years on, they return with ‘Crown Shyness’, produced by Andrew Wade – who has also worked with the likes of Neck Deep and Wage War. Shifting slightly more toward punk than rock, their sophomore LP sees the band achieve a musically rich album with hooks and inspired melodies, whilst nurturing a consistently strong punk backbone.

It’s not without the classic pop punk acoustic though. The title track, seven songs in, touches on the topic of depression and despite a strong message, it doesn’t quite cross the finish line. The lyricism is commendable and it’s worth applauding any artist who uses their platform to shine a spotlight on the stigma still surrounding mental issues, but it’s disjointed from the rest of the album.

‘Crown Shyness’ is an otherwise cohesive record that starts off with a big riff on ‘Inside Out’ and follows with a strong collection of well-constructed songs. Tracks like ‘Don’t Open Your Eyes’ and single ‘Shade’ are all chock-full of heavier guitar work, fuelled by dynamic drumbeats and prominent bass lines. There are a couple of moments reminiscent of Neck Deep’s sound on ‘The Peace and The Panic’, but then Tobi Duncan lets out a ripping vocal and the song changes direction completely.

‘Controlled Burn’ is the strongest track on the album. The balance of melody, galloping drums and chugging riffs form a deadly basis for Duncan’s work and the intensity of the song, combined with the singalong sensibilities, has the makings of a fan favourite.

Trash Boat seem to have cast a wider net with ‘Crown Shyness’, taking a substantial step in a heavier direction, while leaving plenty of easter eggs for pop punk enthusiasts. On the whole, they’ve written an album that can proudly stand up there with ‘Nothing I Write You Can Change What You’ve Been Through’.

RENETTE VAN DER MERWE

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