Trophy Scars - Bad Luck
Release Date: March 17, 2009
Record Label: Unsigned
There is little room for dirty rock music in the mainstream today, and Trophy Scars wouldn't have it any other way. The New Jersey sextet has been a firm believer in business independence, taking a DIY approach that can make or break most bands, but it'll take more than bad luck just to kill them. Trophy Scars has definitely been the target of bad luck throughout their career, and this shines through in the lyrics and the title of their sophomore release, (yup, it's called...) Bad Luck.
Kicking off with "Bad Dreams", this album begins with a soft piano and the lightest singing Jerry Jones is going to give you on this record, which then crescendos into complete controlled chaos, including a vocal approach more melodic than what may sound familiar from the band's debut release, Alphabet.Alphabets. This seems to be where the line is with most listeners, the vocal approach. I find it more suiting for the band considering how much the instruments have stepped up melodically, as exhibited especially in "Anna Lucia", an intense swing jam in which Jones recites nonchalantly a story of a girl's vengeance against the man who cheated on her.
The lyrics are definitely a highlight of the album for me. While not executed with the greatest syntax possible, the storytelling style and conceptual elements of Bad Luck make it hard to take out of your CD player. I find myself keeping the album on repeat more than many others just to indulge in the stories in every song. Some songs (For example, "Good Luck") not only tell stories but raise questions about superstition and the world we live in, as the album was inspired by their good friend Ben who died a tragic, early death, simply because of bad luck. The album leaves me thinking, why do bad things happen to good people? And as eccentric as Jones's writing style may be, it's hard not to relate to that question.
Let's face it, if you wanted Alphabet.Alphabets. Part II, you're in the wrong place, but Bad Luck is far from a letdown or a sophomore slump. If anything, it capitalizes on the band's true talent and allows for more exact musical experimentation; rather than the uncertain attempts at different styles shown in the debut, Trophy Scars has found exactly what they were looking for in this record, successfully attempting incorporation of jazz and country, for example. The almost symphonic approach of the album keeps the listener constantly hooked, with every instrument complementing each other and still executing at full force. While many album's slow jams detract from the overall flow, the breaks in Bad Luck could not have been more perfectly placed, giving a listener a breather from the intensity but never losing the attention it deserves. This is especially shown in "Years So Much", my personal favorite and what I believe to be Trophy Scars's magnum opus, as it includes all of the elements that make them such a renowned band.
Trophy Scars is definitely one of the most established yet respectable DIY bands in music today, and Bad Luck is all the proof needed that all the tragedy and misfortune the band has suffered has surely paid off in the end. While it may never receive the success it deserves, it certainly won't be leaving many people's music players anytime soon, and in today's pop culture, would they even want it to be a hit?