If anything can said about the UK pop-punk scene, it’s that their artists constantly put out must have albums. And once again, we see that is exactly the case with England-based band Trash Boat, who just released one of the strongest pop-punk records of the year “Nothing I Write You Can Change What You’ve Been Through.” The band is proving that they deserve to be among some of the heavy hitters of the scene along with Neck Deep, Roam, As It Is and You Me At Six.
With only two EPs under their belts, Trash Boat is a newcomer to the music scene. The five-piece band has rose to mainstream popularity with some of the singles off their new album, which was produced by Dan Campbell of The Wonder Years. It’s Campbell’s first time as a producer on a record, and he even makes a guest appearance on the opening track “Strangers.” Trash Boat really pulled out all the stops with “Nothing I Write You…,” and now they have a hit record on their hands.
“Nothing I Write You…” is the not so stereotypical album that fans of the pop-punk genre have come to expect. If you were expecting cliché heartbreak songs about girls, being a hopeless twenty something year old or even hometowns, you will be either surprised or let down because none of that is here. Trash Boat provides listeners with a breath of fresh air in the ever-growing stale scene. Their debut album is fast, loud and angry. It has all things needed to be a great punk album.
“Nothing I Write You…” is an 11 track record that clocks out at around 31 minutes long. The name of the game with this record is diversity. The band has branched out with their sound into areas few in the scene would only dare try. There is something fans of even more hardcore bands will love here. With many different elements making up the record, it doesn’t have an overall narrative, but still manages to have a pretty decent flow from song to song.
Musically, there is a lot to be admired about this record. There are plenty of catchy hooks, a guitar solo and a few breakdowns to boot, all the while having some memorable beats to bang your head along to. Besides the few singles that were released, there are plenty of tracks that stand out. For example, “How Selfish I Seem” and “The Guise of a Mother” are some of the record’s most standout tracks, which have heavy hooks and catchy choruses. The record also has short songs like “Things We Leave Behind” that leave you wanting more. If the music doesn’t pull you in, then Tobi Duncan’s vocals are sure to. Whether he is screaming his lungs out on a track like “Strangers” or slowing down on tracks like “You Know, You Know, You Know” and “Brave Face,” Duncan’s vocals are memorable and don’t overshadow the tracks. Instead, they work to support the music and make it better.
Lyrically, the theme that is at play here is coming of age. And what a great coming of age record it is. Tracks like “Tring Qaurry” can be classified as hopeful, whereas tracks like “Catharsis” are more about the tragic side of growing up. With songs on both sides of the spectrum, the variety of topics complement each other. Although trying to balance out the good with the bad is not perfectly executed in this album, it works for the most part. It doesn’t take away from the album, and it is clearly just a result of the record trying to cover as many topics as possible. The flaws are just barely noticeable.
Final Score: 4.5/5
Debut albums can be a struggle for most bands. It is what cements a band and determines whether they are going to make a splash or fade into obscurity after a while. Fortunately, Trash Boat is definitely making a splash. They have written a strong debut album that fans and other pop-punk bands should consider a game changer. I for one cannot wait to see what the future holds for this young band.
If you wanted to catch Trash Boat live, you might want to travel to the UK. The band has no US tour dates coming up yet. I would love to see them on a headlining tour here to support the album, but it looks like we might have to wait for that.
Collegian Music Critic Alec Erickson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @CTV_ACE.