Posted by Brian McFarland on 08/12 at 03:10 PM
Trophy Scars are “like childhood lovers, but less sober,” as they say on their Facebook fan page. Listening to their new album, Never Born, Never Dead, puts me at a baseball game under fireworks on a summer night, or in a dark bar jamming out with a cold beer. They have the lovey-dovey lyrics with a grown-up and practiced sound that doesn’t disappoint.
‘Ectoplasm’ is a 35 second intro that flows into ‘Messengers.’ It took me a while to get used to lead vocalist Jerry Jones’ unique voice but the musicianship is excellent. If you are a fan of blues music than you’ll enjoy the opening two songs. ‘Messengers’ is a chaotic opener and Jones’ vocals make it grungy. The instrumentals are intimately layered with horns and piano. The drums push things forward most of the song.
‘Snake Oil’ is definitely different and catchy. However, it takes too many twists and turns, from soft singing to intense combinations of instruments and Jones’ growling voice. It slows down too much in the middle and the vocals get a bit repetitive. I did enjoy the creativity, but the song was my least favorite on Never Born, Never Dead.
‘Angels,’ my personal favorite off the album, gets me dancing and singing along every time. The orchestral-like experimentation and gang vocals are used perfectly. The soft elegance of ‘Angels’ continues right into ‘Never Dead.’ The female vocals are beautiful. The drums build up the beat with hoarse screams that make it so easy to empathize with Trophy Scars. The guitar riffs compliment the piano giving the album that summer feel.
‘Never Born’ is the chance to sing the blues. It is about death and how even when someone dies they are not gone forever. The piano drives this song slowly along until it hits the guitar transition that has a calming effect.
‘August 1980’ is a remake of an older song from their Split EP with The Saddest Landscape. It highlights Jones’ rugged voice. Speeding up and cutting a minute off this revamp was a nice twist on a beautifully slow song.
Their lyrics are deep and often sad but this album has a happier feel because of the creative musicianship of Trophy Scars. Indeed, the entire album flows together wonderfully but I would have enjoyed the album better, as a whole, if it started from ‘Angels’ and - after ‘August 1980’ - picked up with Ectoplasm. It would introduce Jones’ exotic voice better and make the album easier to listen to for new audiences.
There are a lot of ‘ifs’ with this album. For example, if you like bluesy music, Jones’ voice, or romantic lyrics, you’ll like this album. Luckily it all worked for me and ‘if’ it works for you then buy it. It is only $6.93 on iTunes and Amazon.com MP3 download. You can also buy the CD at Amazon.com here:
Author: Brian McFarland
Bio: Brian McFarland is a senior print journalist major with a minor in English. He has a passion for all forms of original, creative music. In his spare time he likes to attend shows, play sports, read, and write. He loves the indie scene but still loves music of all genres and sounds. Favorite bands include Brand New, Emery, Thursday, and Blink 182.
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