Trying – ‘This is Not a Disco’ album review

Trying This Is Not a Disco album review Bandcamp 2020

Columbus, Ohio band Trying describe themselves as ‘a kinda noisy, kinda sweet indie pop band’ with a whole host of influences. Their latest album, ‘This is Not a Disco’ is about the struggles of helping and being helped.

The opening duo of ‘This is Not a Disco Pt. 1’ and ‘This is Not a Disco Pt. 2’ find Cameron Carr reassuring a loved one it is OK to cry (‘no one said you had to act tough, my love’) in quieter tones before the jagged and woozy Los Campesinos-style hooks and glockenspiel enter the fray with more words of comfort: ‘Stop hurting yourself, you only make it hurt more’. ‘Blowing Wishes’ has a swaying, chamber pop introduction as Trying look to find a new start (‘We’re leaving now. Someday we’ll be back’) while ‘It’s a New Job’ captures the melancholy, jangly sound of Camera Obscura or The Spook School. ‘Oh, What an Awful Way’ combines acoustic strums with recordings of birdsong to show a more introspective side to the band as they try to support someone through a tough time: ‘Hear me through earplugs. You mute the black world’.

‘Don’t Worry’ has a waltzy feel with psychedlic stylings rolling around gentle words of comfort (‘if I cannot do one thing, can I do the other thing?) before ‘What Have I Become’ urges you to clap along to its drums before it veers into something resembling post rock territory. There’s a jazz-inspired freakout at the end of ‘I Just Can’t Feel the Rhythm’, while ‘Paint the Walls Yellow’ combines the fuzzy splendour of Guided by Voices with more melodic moments and romantic words: ‘I wore your favourite shirt with the sleeves rolled up like you like them’. ‘If I Don’t Get a Job’ will strike a chord with anyone who feels useless when they find themselves out of work (I certainly do). It finds Cameron asking ‘If I don’t get a job, would you still live with me? I swear I’ll vacuum at least three times a week’. Fittingly, ‘I Still Love You’ has an important message about romance – ‘I want you to know how loved you are’ – before ‘I won’t Lose the Rhythm’ celebrates the joy to be found in dancing, companionship and support: ‘Darkness will come every night, just let me be by your side’.

‘This is Not a Disco’ but it is something pure, potent and perfect for dancing – and crying – to…

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