Australia's rock scene is a force to be reckoned with, but besides its progressive and classic output, nothing much else tends to see the light of day. There are some up and coming contenders who are in the game to steal the limelight - the ones that have gained the most momentum is Trophy Eyes.
The Newcastle outfit has offered up their second record Chemical Miracles, continuing to develop a cross between pop punk and post-hardcore. The sound of the record is a sort of blend between Take This To Your Grave-era Fall Out Boy and the modern indie cries of Modern Baseball. Songs cross between heavy, angry screaming packed with sweaty emotions (see 'Nose Bleed') and sweet and melodic ('Home Is'). Often times, the two sounds blend between verse and chorus, one of them dominating its own part of the track.
It's a pop punk record at its very core, and that alone sprouts several issues, more so by circumstance rather than by result. Pop punk is on an insurrection, the forerunners bearing the flag are Moose Blood (see our review of Blush here), with the bigger bands who carried the genre are releasing their own records. Even with the modern flair on the genre, the newcomers are having trouble keeping it original. Trophy Eyes has a good balance on Chemical Miracles. First track 'Chlorine' has that sweet blend of melodic choruses, screamed verses, and distorted guitars, complete with a stripped down and intimate end.
Balance is essential, and while Chemical Miracles as a whole has it, individual songs don't. There's an identity crisis occurring in nearly every other song. 'Chemical' starts understatedly but becomes bewilderingly angry, with the subtle instrumental carrying on when the screams are done. A more complete example is 'Rain On Me', its angry growls paired with its big guitars leads it to be a strong track, but it struggles with wanting to be angry or melodic - it can't decide.
The gems on the record do shine out. Among them is 'Breathe You In', the wonderfully executed alternative rock anthem that bursts with sweet yet heavy guitars and nice melodies - a solid but effective alt. rock track. It's not lost or confused like other songs on the record are; it has it's purpose and sets out to fulfill it. Closer track 'Daydreamer' is similar, the quiet intro building up with more emotion as it progresses. Gang vocals, heavy guitars, and sweet belts are what build the song to its closure, taking the album out on a high and emotional ending.
Trophy Eyes have a long way to go before making it big, but Chemical Miracles is a good show that there is potential. The band has a solid grasp on what it tries to accomplish - they just have to solidify what exactly it is that they want to do. After that, they'll be busting out tunes out of thin air.
Favorite Tracks: Breather You In, Daydreamer, Chlorine
Least Favorite Track: Chemical
Rating: 70 / 100