Trophy Eyes - Mend, Move On (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Trophy Eyes

Mend, Move On (2014)


I've connected with a lot of bands over the past few years battling my own demons. Bands like Thursday, Touche Amore, La Dispute, Hop Along, All Get Out, Code Orange and The Front Bottoms are just a few off the top of my head. Heartfelt, loud, doesn't matter to me. The stories they tell do. Trophy Eyes are one of those I recently discovered. When it comes to mixing pop-punk, melodic and hardcore, it took me a while but I've finally stepped up to say, no one does it like these Aussies do.

Funny enough, I once bashed Hopeless Records for killing off The Used and Taking Back Sunday (all tongue-in-cheek, of course) but adding the likes of Trophy Eyes, another melodic/hardcore/pop-punk outfit in Worthwhile and Have Mercy to their roster were all great moves. Trophy Eyes in particular bring a lot of energy and personal, relatable stories to the fold. From their 2013 demo to the 2014 Everything Goes Away EP, it's all about vulnerability and fighting through adversity. They fine-tune their sounds (and all the genres mixed in) so well by the album and Mend, Move On is pretty self-explanatory as a title. But what's even more noteworthy, is that it's their most definitive and crowning statement to date.

The grating and throaty vocals of Joe Floreani bring out a lot of the band's essence. He's what really builds the exciting melodic hardcore essence of the band on top of hard-hitting riffs (which skate-punk fans would surely fall in love with) and relentless percussion. As everything crashes together so cleverly, what gives him the edge on top of the amazing musicianship is his dense and compelling vocals. They all mash up into something that's not too unique (and nods to bands like Make Do and Mend as well as Such Gold) but still, they take the sound and own it. "My Name On Paper", "Come Clean" and "Responsibility and Structure" are examples of this unwavering intensity. Floreani's grown by the record as well and hits hard with his stories. Unflinching and with a vibrancy that never falters. At times, the tracks do saturate you a bit and there could be some variety but all in all, each track delivers. And I do chalk a lot of this up to the lyrical content. A diary unraveling. An open book to say the least.

Even when they change the pace, tempering down things a bit on "Choke", they quickly return to the usual state of affairs - boisterous and in-your-face. Few bands, personally, kick this so well. This is one of them. They reminded me of Virginia's This Is Your Life, whom I fell in love with in 2012. Flawed yet a band with massive potential. This record sees them harness their best traits to produce something in fine form. And as loud and angry as it is, Trophy Eyes shell out another novel that's soothing, full of character, therapeutic and connectable. The 2014 EP was a dark story. Quite tragic and told of loneliness and depression as the band found their way together. Mend, Move On maintains that abrasive finesse and continues to tell their tales of breaking down mental barriers - but with a greater sense of overcoming. And brighter days on the horizon.