Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Trolley "Things That Shine and Glow" - New album with a new take on Classic Power Pop

I always appreciate it when a band takes the time to check out the Blog properly and get a feel for what it is about, before cramming the in-box with promotional stuff. So, it was nice to hear from Milwaukee based band, Trolley, who had seen my recent feature on The Soundtrack of Our Lives in a recent issue of Shindig! magazine and had done a bit of research before getting in touch. So here's a bit of background information from the band first of all, and then I'll resurface at the other end with a look at their brand new album. "Trolley connects the creativity of the 60's with the energy of now. Since 1995, Trolley have released a series of albums built from the best elements of Psychedelia and Punk, classic Pop and the hard driving beat of The Mod era. Their new album "Things That Shine and Glow" (Easter Records) continues the tradition of mining gold from the past and shaping it into a set of timeless original songs. The band has gotten around, playing South by Southwest and North By Northeast, Summerfest and International Pop Overthrow. They have also opened for The Jayhawks, Cotton Mather and Los Straightjackets and has risen to the forefront of the Power Pop movement without being confined by it. Bouyed by classic melodies from all its members, Trolley's songs are seldom less than memorable.

"Things That Shine and Glow" moves the legacy of great albums by The Kinks and The Zombies into the 21st Century. The rich sonic tapestry is woven around the solid musicianship of Patrick Morrow (drums), Terry Hackbarth (vocals and bass), Mike Perotto and Paul James Wall (both on vocals and guitars). Trolley is a loud and glorious reminder that two guitars, bass and drums can still be a formidable line-up for great music."

The album has already received great notices in "Shindig!", "The Big Take Over" and "The Onion", where they mentioned comparisons such as Big Star, The Zombies, The Seeds and The Kinks. All the reviews are indeed stuffed full of "glowing" praise. "Things That Shine and Glow" could pretty much be my review of the album in one title, these songs do indeed shine and glow. The opening track "I Woke Up" is a cracker, with a great riff and nice powerful rhythm guitar underneath. In fact the band are much tougher musically than I was expecting, with all the reviews noting bands such as The Zombies and The Byrds, I was expecting a more folky influenced sound, but they also have a bit of muscle behind them, a nice Garage Punk feel lurks underneath their harmonies. "My Obsession", unexpectedly reminds me of early Elvis Costello & The Attractions for some reason, it's full of melodic hooks. "The Calico Cat" is a good rocking number and is followed by the excellent "Summer Long", which again throws a different slant on the band's sound. A fuzzed up bass and keyboard buzzes away, with an almost Stranglers-like menace. "In The End" has a beautiful Beatles style chorus and chiming guitars and is more in the traditional Power Pop vein. "Out Of Love" is a blissed out swinging summer song led by a simple piano riff and this is followed by the powerful chords of "Ocean Sounds". The good thing with Trolley, is that yes, it is easy to pick out influences, but they have thrown me with their individual take on the genre, it's refreshing. The sort of influences that spring to my mind are not so predictable, but bands such as The Go-Betweens and The Muttonbirds, bands dealing with a melodic guitar pop, that are just impossible to categorise easily.

It's a fourteen track album, and I'm almost expecting a lull in proceedings, but no, luckily each song seems to build impressively on the last one. "'Til I'm Gone", sounds like the perfect single, packed full of backing vocal melodies, it could have made an ideal album opener. "I Can't Hide" changes tack again to an atmospheric number, with the feel of a Spy movie soundtrack. The Punky riffing of "She's The Kind Of Girl" lifts the tone and I can imagine this sounding pretty damn good live. "Vanity's Song" has a memorable chorus and an authentic Sixties feel to it and the title track is a mellow but uplifting song. "That Made Me Wanting You" has a great late Seventies New Wave feel but ends off with a nice little Psychedelic twist. Closing number "Love The Way You Look" is a mellow but warm ending, it's a very satisfying way to bring this superb album to a close. In fact I'd say that "Things That Shine and Glow" is one of the best albums I've heard so far this year. In these days of easy downloads of a track here and an MP3 there, it's certainly a pleasure to listen to a whole album from start to finish and it feeling like a perfectly crafted work.

I noticed there was another Trolley album on eMusic called "Head Vs. Heart" and I am really enjoying the first half of that too, especially the brilliant song, "Record Store". Not that there's anything wrong with the second half, I just haven't heard it yet as my monthly subscription ran out half way through...Anyway, I shall eagerly await my next months' refresher as I am keen to complete the album and discover more of Trolley's quality music.

You can buy the album "Things That Shine and Glow" directly from the band's official web-site.

In The meantime, here's a video for the albums' great opening number entitled "I Woke Up":

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