Trophy Eyes – ‘The American Dream’

By Gem Rogers

Trophy Eyes are an unpredictable band. They may have only released two full length albums so far, but the difference in style between them is striking. They move from the punky, aggressive hardcore of ‘Mend, Move On’ in 2014 to the more varied, alt rock and pop punk influenced sound of 2016’s ‘Chemical Miracle’. The Australian four-piece have proven themselves to be masters of melding any number of genres in whichever way they happen to feel like at the time, and the evolution isn’t stopping now. Their third album ‘The American Dream’ is heavily influenced by front man John Floreani’s time in Texas, and it shows.  

Opener ‘Autumn’ kicks in with a real Third Eye Blind vibe; true to its title, the album heads immediately in an American rock direction, but it’s well delivered with soulful vocals, dancing guitars and dramatic string sections. Through each song that follows, we are treated to the full range of Floreani’s vocal chords; from the deep baritone that could soothe even the most fractious mind, to the furious bark that dominated their earlier releases. The transition between each is so fluent and natural that Trophy Eyes are able to achieve a tone and style that very few others could – not without throwing a few extra vocalists into the mix, at least.  

Nestled after four up-tempo tracks, the sombre ‘A Cotton Candy Sky’ brings calm before the storm of first single ‘You Can Count On Me’ – one of the most radio-friendly songs the band have released to date, the lyrics make clear their intention to do exactly as they please. And who are we to complain when what pleases them is so utterly enjoyable? One of the highlights of the album follows swiftly in the form of ‘Broken’; an enticing combination of steady drum beats and jagged keys that lead to a colossal crescendo, it’s a song made to fill stadiums.   

It seems common for heavier bands to go out of their way to include a token slow song on their albums, and it often sounds like just that – a bit of an afterthought to prove their ‘depth’. Perhaps it helps that Trophy Eyes have already woven plenty of variety into the pace by the time ‘Tip Toe’ arrives, but at any rate, ‘token slow song’ couldn’t be much less of an accurate description here. Channelling a sound akin to the best of Stone Sour, this is a truly beautiful track, with gentle acoustic music allowing the phenomenal intensity of Floreani’s vocal to shine.    

‘The American Dream’ delivers song after song of powerful hooks and catchy melodies; yet beneath the gang vocals (which are of a seriously satisfying quantity), they are rich in meaning. Real, recognisable emotions flow through the veins of the album, ensuring that this isn’t just a superficial listening experience – there are lasting connections to be made with these lyrics.   

This is not Trophy Eyes as you know them. A diamond file may have been taken to their hardcore edge; but rather than dulling the result, it has instead left behind some of its shine. Though it takes a few listens to fully absorb, this is an album perfect for lost souls and dreamers – cohesive, uplifting and honest, this is the absolute best of Trophy Eyes so far.  

GEM ROGERS

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