Trash Boat - Brainwork (Cover Artwork)

Trash Boat

Brainwork (2015)

Hopeless Records

I'm not going to lie, I was into Set Your Goals as a high school student. If you had looked at my music library at the time, you would have seen them preceding Sonic Youth and The Specials, giving you the feeling that I was both confused and possibly an idiot (correct on both counts). Set Your Goals had the shouting backup vocals and the propulsive (but incredibly repetitive) drum lines that I apparently craved at that age. Listening to this EP by Trash Boat gave me flashbacks to that time. I actually re-listened to Set Your Goals because of it, which was experience. Anyway, let's move onto the subject at hand: Trash Boat.

UK band Trash Boat play a certain brand of what has been labeled as "Pop Punk." Here you won't find Screeching Weasel-like tunes deeply in debt to the Ramones nor will you find more emo/indie influenced tracks with awkwardly catchy hooks. This is music that has sugary hardcore influenced guitars and vocals with small, randomly placed stutters in a misguided attempt to fabricate a discernible melody. Basically, if you like Four Year Strong or the previously mentioned Set Your Goals, hey, you might want to give this EP a shot.

Everyone else: if you're still interested, listen to the opening track on the EP, because the band pretty much shows their hand completely on this track. "Taylor" barely scrapes the one minute mark, yet it basically covers all the ground that can be found on the remaining 11 minutes of this EP. You've got the familiar, lightly chugging guitars and the drum beat acting like an over invasive metronome. Then the song just ends with an oddly awkward fade out into the next song. Luckily, the other tracks are a little more competently structured, but they do not have much more going for them. "Saving Face" is burdened with lyrics like "Break through my skull / Tell me what I'm thinking / Because I know that's what you're thinking." Here, and on the other tracks, the singer moves onto a chorus where he spits out way too many words, suffocating whatever melody the band had in mind. Every song here is almost catchy, almost creating an ear worm you can turn your brain off to enjoy. Trash Boat never quite gets there and, if there's no catchiness to it, what else are you going to get out of this music?

This EP is clearly not for me and I'm not even remotely going to pretend like I'm the main market for it. I could maybe (that's a small maybe) listen to this if it had the hooks to get past the cheesiness of the music. However, they're simply not there. Here's to hoping Trash Boat puts more brainwork into their subsequent releases.