‘The American Dream’, the third album by Sydney, Australia’s Trophy Eyes finds the band stepping into new and exciting territory. Inspired by frontman John Floreani’s experiences living in Burleson, Texas, the album promises to be their most expansive and anthemic yet
A huge, glowing burst of Gaslight Anthem-meets-Menzingers guitar signals the start of album opener ‘Autumn. The song finds Floreani looking back over the Irish songs that were played at his grandfather’s funeral before recalling how he ‘found my heart in Los Angeles’ and offering a statement of intent: ‘Don’t let no sad songs run your brain’. The following ‘Something Bigger Than This’ veers into more pop-punk territory as Floreani hopes to achieve something more in his life and offers a touch of regret about ‘waking up in the same old sun’. The chanted sing-along of ‘It don’t make much sense right now but it will all come together when the lights go out’ is tailor-made for festivals and sums up the complexities of life in a deceptively simple fashion.
The ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’-inspired ‘Friday Forever’ is a nostalgic and yearning piece full of emotion as Floreani talks about the times when you’re so full of love for someone that you want them to succeed so much, even if it’s to your detriment: ‘Don’t you wish it was Friday forever? Don’t you wish the sun never came up? Don’t you miss being day drunk together?’ There are a couple of songs on the album where Floreani channels his inner-Matt Berninger, no more so than on ‘A Cotton Candy Sky’; a short and experimental track with samples of rainfall and lyrics about a storm arriving. Album centrepiece ‘You Can Count On Me’ follows with big drums and chants about how ‘Some of my friends sell drugs, but I just sell sad songs to the ones who feel alone. You can count on me when it all goes wrong.’ It’s a Culture Abuse-esque rally against rock stars and the way they sometimes treat fans, including a savage breaking of the fourth wall: ‘Thanks to everyone that bought tickets to my shows. I put all the money that you spent up my nose’.
‘Tip Toe’ is a thoughtful account of past mistakes and the way arguments in relationships can have long-term consequences: ‘I’ll call you when I can, I’m busy as I always am’; ‘You used to say I love you when I said goodbye’. ‘Miming in the Choir’ is an atmospheric piece in the vein of The War on Drugs with Floreani revealing he’s found reasons to ‘not stay fucked up anymore’ before quickly backtracking. There are hardcore-inspired moments to give fans a nod to Trophy Eyes’ recent past. The closing ‘I Can Feel It Calling’ is full of slow-burning riffs and pining for closeness as Jeremy Winchester’s bass and Blake Caruso’s drums build up with gusto: ‘This world’s got a funny way of being cruel to me’; ‘You never know what your heart’s for until it breaks. If you’ve got no one to mend it, you’re left with an empty space’. It then finishes with a bombastic blast and rousing choral rendition of ‘Think of me when you’re alone and you can’t sleep. I’m on the other side of the world doing the same thing’.
‘The American Dream’ is a record full of personal stories, poignancies and passion. The alluring hooks and powerful choruses have their eyes on arenas – and it’s all complemented by strings courtesy of Chris Craker. Trophy Eyes’ dream is one that you’ll want to follow…