Trolley - Things That Shine and Glow

by Jeff Penczak Rating:8 Release Date:2014-03-31

Milwaukee’s power-pop quartet have been drifting away from their punkier roots for nearly 20 years now and their latest finds them mining similar territory to their more famous hometown brethren, Plasticland. The martial drumbeat which introduces ‘I Woke Up’ shoots their catchy melodies and snappy harmonies out of a cannon and straight into your heart. Tasteful guitar solos (short and sweet like we like them) even grab a few Flamin’ Groovies’ vibes and pile-drive into the back of your head where they’ll take up residence for the rest of the summer.

Which is a perfect segue into ‘Summer Long’, with its pleading vocals, shuffling beat, omnipresent, strident harmonies, and nifty guitar breaks chasing a rifling drumbeat around the room. Put yourself in the WABAC machine, imagine The Jam covering Badfinger and you're close. Power-pop has always been about sunny dispositions, yearning vocals, can’t-get-it-outta-my-head melodies – the innocence of the pre-Pepper Beatles and the pre-vaudeville Kinks. 

Trolley have captured those halcyon days as effectively as 80s power-pop kingpins The Records, Shoes, Californians The Beat, Pop, and 20/20. So swoon to ‘Out of Love’, melt into the harmonic dreamscape of ‘Ocean Sounds'... And that’s just side one.

Flip this puppy over and get your dancin’ shoes on for ‘Til I’m Gone’, then it’s surf’s up for the Morricone-esque spaghetti western-cum-ballad ‘I Can’t Hide’ before you drive yourself batty trying to figure out the source for the impossibly catchy riff to ‘Vanity’s Song’ as they tear a page out of the Nick Lowe (“guess where I copped this one from”) songbook. The lasses will melt into the enveloping warmth of the title track before the brutish Lennonesque fish-slap of the punky wah-wah fest ‘That Made Me Wanting You’ revisits earlier conquests. It all concludes on the rather downbeat tearjerker ‘Love the Way You Look’.

A triumph recommended to power-pop lovers and 70s AM radio aficionados everywhere.

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