by Aaron Gidney
Los Angeles’ Trope formed in 2016 and describe themselves as an Alternative Rock band with Progressive elements. Eleutheromania is their debut album and according to the dictionary (thank you google), means ‘a manic yearning for freedom’. The band assembled an extremely impressive production team in Mike Fraser (AC/DC, Metallica), David Bottrill (Tool, Peter Gabriel) and Ted Jansen (Stone Temple Pilots) – and it’s clear from the opening bars of ‘Lambs’ why – this band has taken all the best bits from Tool and slipped into the gap whilst that band were sleeping between albums (which if you’re not a Tool fan, is literally aeons).
‘Lambs’ is a moody opener, albeit a little ‘Tool by numbers’ – this is no means a bad thing – if you’re going to wear your influences on your sleeve, make sure it’s a worthy band like Tool.
‘Breach’ has a catchy chorus, along with a solid main riff and there’s some clear grunge/alt rock influences which help lift the song into mainstream American radio rock territory.
‘Surrogate’ drops back into familiar 7/8 Tool time signature and drop D tuning territory with some tasty toms work on the drums, layered with some eerie guitar feedback/e-bow work.
I won’t mention the ‘T’ word again as that would be entirely unfair. There are some excellent songs on this album with a wide range of influences.
The cover of Tears For Fears’ ‘Shout’ is an interesting choice, where Trope add their own musical spin. It’s completely unrecognisable in the verses, with the band’s interpretation inventive and innovative. It slightly disappoints in the chorus with the chord choices but fair play to the band for making it their own.
The basswork across the album is very impressive – it’s always great to hear bassists utilising the top two strings above the 12th fret, adding melody and harmonic movement. The drums ably underpin with good use of toms and groove, laying a solid foundation for the rest of the band.
The mix feels very spacious and thankfully the guitars are not overly taking up the mix – it does breath, ebb and flow throughout the songs allowing the atmospheric vocals of Diana Studenberg to cut through and be the central focus whenever it’s needed.
The whole album feels very familiar and as stated earlier, there’s good reason for that. It might not sound like it, but this is indeed a really good album that appears to have been meticulously crafted and incredibly well executed across every single track. The attention to melody is obvious and one of the band’s strengths, as is the atmospheric core – none of the instruments are vying for attention at the front of the mix.
Looking forward to hearing the evolution of this band in future.
- Shout (Tears For Fears Cover)
- Seasons Change