The froth levels were ridiculously high when the recent news dropped that Mudvayne and Coal …
Carving an ethereal dagger into hardcore, punk and pop-ready moments, album #4 from Newcastle’s Trophy Eyes is a masterclass in contrasts and consistency.
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The first new album in five years from the hard-hitting quartet, Suicide and Sunshine follows up from 2018’s The American Dream which snagged praise for its sonic evolution, cheer-inducing choruses and ambition while peaking at #8 on the ARIA charts. But where its predecessor paid homage to American rock‘n’roll archetypes, Suicide and Sunshine hurls itself gloriously into the abyss, balancing chaos with extreme focus and vulnerability.
With a glimmering synth intro, opening track Sydney erupts with lead vocalist John Floreani howling “I feel in love with the city in the winter” before the Newcastle lot pile in on a short and sweet stomper oozing with emotion. And following the return of the opener’s warm synth line, Floreani then immediately flits into swoonier waters on Life In Slow Motion, initially delivering a performance as if Gang of Youths’ David Le’aupepe swam through the 80s before the entire track builds into a raw and rasping melodic hardcore delight.
Throughout Suicide and Sunshine there are plenty of sonic Easter eggs, astonishing performances and bitterly relatable tales about the entire human existence in all its glorious highs and misering lows. Case in point, the thunderous People Like You that gleefully wallows in spitfire anguish and existential dread while building to the decidedly cheerful group delivery of the chant “Life’s not fair but it’s nearly over / Dying’s cheaper than growing older” (and a momentary nod to The Pogues’ Dirty Old Town in its closing moments).
Trophy Eyes have delivered a boundary-defying masterpiece via Suicide and Sunshine; equal parts intimate and sonically exciting.
Alongside confessional pop punk anthems (My Inheritance) and stadium-worthy ballads soaked in electronic undertones (Runaway Come Home), Suicide and Sunshine balances its occasionally more aggressive moments with plenty of stripped-back arrangements (Burden, Sweet Soft Sound and the particularly poignant Sean which lends a line to the album’s very title) as well as flourishes of indie rock jaunts (What Hurts The Most). And while the sonic mood significantly softens yet tightens as the album progresses, there are sonic spikes to surprise along the way, with infectious melodics and beats on OMW balanced alongside sharp guitars and its pre-chorus lyrics “Everything turned out just fine / But I still wanna die”, before closing out via some dark dance banger hues. And from wallowing in oscillating grunge and post hardcore (Kill) to swirling, modern soundscapes (Stay Here) in the album’s latter moments, Suicide and Sunshine brings itself to a final close with magnetic ease on Epilogue; a jubilant track laced in scared tissue and Floreani’s heart dynamically on his sleeve as he swaps between crooning and beseeching the lines: “I just didn’t wanna die in my hometown / Look at me now / All I wanted was to make all of you proud / It’s for you now”.
A band already renowned for and established in their scintillating and self-aware lyricism alongside their blend of chest-thumping angst and anthemic wiles, Trophy Eyes have delivered a boundary-defying masterpiece via Suicide and Sunshine; equal parts intimate and sonically exciting. Each moment of Trophy Eyes’ fourth studio album feels diligently crafted without tipping into feeling too overworked or heavy-handed. And while life’s beauty and tragedy is on full and decadent display, Suicide and Sunshine fuses the foundations of who Trophy Eyes have always been as a band and glows that very DNA up into a fresh and formidable outing; and it’s one that will ultimately reward those who revel in a full start-to-finish album listen. Is it emo? Is it pop? Is it post hardcore or rock? Forget the genres and just lose yourself in this sublime experience.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Life In Slow Motion, Runaway Come Home, OMW
STICK THIS NEXT TO: You Me At Six, Gang Of Youths, Hellions
TROPHY EYES SUICIDE AND SUNSHINE AUSTRALIAN TOUR
Thursday 22 June – Fremantle Social Club, Fremantle
Friday 23 June – The Gov, Adelaide
Saturday 24 June – Northcote Theatre, Melbourne
Friday 30 June – The Tivoli, Brisbane
Saturday 1 July – Metro Theatre, Sydney