When it comes to the fundamental genres of music and their spawn, they tend to come and go with the expected cyclical nature of what the music world finds appealing. The 90’s saw a massive surge in punk, partly due to the skating scene and partly due to the raw, grittiness it offered to the youth of the decade among other various reasons. What followed was a plethora of copycats and the bands that set the scene ablaze dissipating for much of the 2000’s and early 2010’s, until the past year or so. As of late, punk has made a comeback and new bands are set to take center stage in the world, which brings us to Australian punk rock outfit Trophy Eyes. Announced in August, their new album Chemical Miracle received almost immediate anticipation due to the lead single “Chlorine”. Now that the record is here, does the record live up to the expectations truly harkening a revival of punk or does it show the genre needs to go back to the hole it was hiding in?
While Trophy Eyes are classified as a punk rock or pop punk outfit, it’d be doing the band a disservice by lumping them into a confined box or boundary. The overall sound presented on Chemical Miracle is more of a mixture of sounds that derive from the pop punk, punk rock and alternative rock genres that when combined bring forth a more memorable, standout output. All of these factors culminate in what can essentially be called a new start for the outfit as they are creating and playing music they want to be known for. Due to this, listeners are presented with a collection of songs that don’t rely on extremes of highs and lows, instead they give off a more even keeled sound full of energy, bounciness and emotion. With a new start comes a slightly new sound present throughout the whole of Chemical Miracle, which is an astonishingly diverse punk record. This is enhanced through the lyrical content that drives home the message presented as much as it is the various vocal delivery styles and the creative riffs and underlying instrumentation.
That aforementioned diversity takes center stage throughout the whole of what Chemical Miracle presents to its listeners, but truly takes a full-fledged listen or two to really shine. Partly due to the various inspirations taken from other genres and partly due to the eerie sense and atmosphere the record itself offers up. The album feeds off of this and provokes a multitude of thoughts and feelings from the listener, which strikes at the desire of what the band hoped to create in their music – something that is catchy, heavy and quite relatable. This is showcased right from the beginning with the opener and lead single “Chlorine” that utilizes John Floreani’s harsh, raw and emotional heart-wrenching screams and backing vocalist Jeremy Winchester’s soft sung and soaring cleans. Further driving the varied and emotionally stretched sound are other standout tracks like “Rain on Me” which sees a fast paced wailing opening set-piece, the subtle and raw interlude-esque tracks “Chemical” and “Miracle” or the album closer “Daydreamer”, which slows things down letting listeners soak in the journey presented.
In today’s musical age, variety is king as there’s all too much vying for listener’s attention and what Chemical Miracle presents is a brilliantly put together package of emotion and rawness, pulling in pieces from all realms of music. This is a record that will ultimately bring on a plethora of new fans while at the same time with a new level of energy and raw intensity as Trophy Eyes have breathed new life into themselves. At the same time, older fans of their more punk roots will feel at home with the succinct base sound still intact. Simply put, Chemical Miracle appeals to not only the band’s already established fan-base, but also to new listeners and for those who look for music akin to the raw sound that dominated the 90’s.