Trophy Eyes - Chemical Miracle (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Trophy Eyes

Chemical Miracle (2016)

Hopeless Records

I thought that Mend, Move On would always be the cornerstone of Australia's Trophy Eyes. They're one of my under-the-radar bands that I can't enough of. Chemical Miracle though, that's a whole new ball game. It isn't just a punch down under to wake you up after a long, fucked-up night. But it's a brutally diverse album that has something for so many rock fans. It doesn't drag across...but instead races -- pummeling -- through a few genres that delivers something beyond wildest expectations.

They're a great mix of pop-punk, done edgier and faster. Think After The Fall, Great Lakes USA, with some Brutal Youth thrown in. "Chlorine" hits you right off the bat in this vein and so does "Suicide Pact". To be honest, I expected more of their trademark melodic hardcore and while that's done great service eventually, I can't help but gush at how much more distinct they come off toying around other grounds. More accessible and well-rounded, even if it's a tailspin of sounds. It feels like they're finding their voice even more, oddly enough, on a record where vocalist John Floreani goes through so many styles. From the catchier "Nose Bleed" to the cleaner vocals on "Heaven Sent", he brings his A-game. One he redefines when they take a turn for the post-hardcore screamo road on tracks like "Rain On Me" (one of their most guitar-aggressive to date) and "Daydreamer". The lyrics weigh heavily on you as well but what really makes them hit harder is the soft-loud dynamic on so many tracks. You never know what to expect but it's done so well in such a tight, crisp production. "Home Is" is another gem that feels like what Basement are doing now but out of everything here, it's the track that pays homage to the Wave that stands out. A hazy tribute to Touche Amore, Departures and such on "Miracle" -- from a band that doesn't know where to plant their flag. Because as foreigners, why the fuck not? Subverting, mixing and matching...that's punk. Right? Trophy Eyes, you got me. Well played lads.