Don’t You Feel Amazing?: Trash Boat’s new album brings rock to the pop masses

British punk rock band Trash Boat has been heavying up the scene for nearly a decade now. With three albums now under their belt, alongside a handful of EPs and singles, the band has firmly established itself as one of the bright lights of the future. I have to admit that I haven’t listened to this band nearly enough, especially since what I have heard I’ve enjoyed. So, without further ado, here is my review of ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’.

The title track of the album opens on a low, pretty heavy bass riff before the vocals and drums come in and drag it surprisingly firmly into indie territory. Even when the main riff kicks in it feels like something that would easily fit in as a heavier track at Ynot Festival. It’s not a bad thing, just a little unexpected given what I have heard from them before. Still, the backing vocals through it were nice, as was the awesome effect on them around a minute in. The chorus is still pretty light but it’s pretty damn catchy, something that would go down a storm live. It reminds me a lot of Lower Than Atlantis, actually. The low bass riff continues through a pretty fun (if simple) guitar solo, one that gets overshadowed by the vocals. They’re still catchy, but I’d have liked to have a tad more lead guitar stuff first. We then get a final, elongated chorus to finish things off. While this was completely different from what I was expecting, it was damn catchy and enjoyable, making the playlist.

One of the lead singles, ‘Silence is Golden’ is immediately the heavier nature of the band I was expecting coming into this. It heads straight into harsher vocals and heavy guitars and drums before another awesome riff comes out the end. This would have been a better opener for the album, for sure. Everything but the guitars and vocals drop out for the first half of the verse, adding some great dynamics into the track. It all builds up pretty well into a HUGE chorus, catchy and fun, even if it was very poppy and the lyrics were cringingly faux-‘hard’ and juvenile. The build-up to the breakdown was pretty great, the preaching vocals always working so well in this style of music. However, the breakdown itself was weak, basic, and not all too heavy, which was a shame. Between it and the lyrics, it kind of put me off the song a little.

The first of two tracks to feature a guest artist, ‘Bad Entertainment’ opens on a fairly entertaining (pun intended) riff. It continues through the verse, adding to the catchiness overall. It all builds into a pretty decent chorus, not quite as catchy as the previous songs’ but still enjoyable. It’s the best part of this otherwise pop song, anyway! Milkie Way (nope, I’m not kidding) comes in for the bridge after the second chorus, feeling like a cheap version of Poppy. I’m sure it was fun for them to work together, but she adds next to nothing to this track that Tobi Duncan couldn’t have done himself. There isn’t much more to this song apart from it getting a little heavier for the final chorus, but it doesn’t last long until it ends. The definition of ‘meh’.

Aside from the catchy opening vocals, there isn’t much I can say about ‘Love Without Needing’ that I didn’t already say about the previous song. It’s a pop song with some slightly heavier, distorted guitars behind the vocals. I mean heck, the vocal melody is eerily reminiscent of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’ don’t you think? None of those factors make it a rock song, never mind a punk song. There is nothing punk about this, and that makes me sad.

Lead single ‘He’s So Good’ almost fell under the same criticism of the previous song, until the chorus came into it. It’s still very pop-leaning, but at least the instrumentation is heavier behind it and we get a fairly okay indie riff afterwards. Some of the lyrics feel at least a little heartfelt, but after hearing a couple of interesting lines and Googling the rest, they’re really quite terrible. Another pretty bad song.

‘Vertigo’ is at least another fully rock song, the first one in a good four tracks at this point, but I was that put off by the last few songs that this didn’t build up much goodwill for me. And I’m not even saying pop or pop-rock is bad, it’s just that I’m pretty selective with the genre as a whole, and when I’m expecting an actual rock/punk album a bunch of pop would put me off. So, in summary, ‘Vertigo’ is one of the better songs on the album by proxy.

The second song to feature an artist, this time Kamiyada+ (I don’t know them either) is next. It’s a little heavy again, at least the chorus is, but it’s repetitive as hell and more juvenile, unenjoyable lyrics. I guess the guest is a rapper, as he raps here. It’s surprising the best part of the song, and it’s made me wish I was listening to more of his stuff than this album. Again, this album is fine for what it is, and if anyone likes it then awesome. It’s simply a little too basic and pop-leaning for my taste in rock.

‘Idios’ all but fades into the background aside for a pretty decent breakdown hidden in the middle. It’s more that could be said about ‘Cannibal’ and ‘All I Can Never Be’ though, both of which felt more like something from Kings of Leon or Highly Suspect than a British punk rock band. They were pretty bland, even the choruses not really standing out as others on the album have been better. They felt a tad like filler but were okay for what they were, I guess.

The final single, ‘Synthetic Sympathy’, opens like a Maroon 5 song. And not like their good early stuff either, I’m talking like a modern Maroon 5 song. If it wasn’t for the odd harsher vocal and distorted guitar it may as well have been a Maroon 5 song, too. It’s catchy as heck, don’t get me wrong, but there is VERY little to this song aside from the vocal melody. Even the lead guitar part is just the same thing over and over. It’s a very safe, radio-friendly song. I wouldn’t be opposed to listening to it again, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to find it.

Somehow the final song on the album, ‘Maladaptive Daydreaming’, is the most pop-leaning song on the entire album. It’s just vocals and a VERY basic drumbeat, with the odd guitar chords coming in for the choruses. It’s incredibly formulaic, and a direction I can see a lot of modern rock bands going if this sound is successful here, unfortunately. Again, it isn’t bad, it just bores me. A dull end to an album.

Overall: I wasn’t all too impressed by this. I don’t want to sound like a broken record but it was a pop album, not a rock or punk one. It was fine for what it was, but what it was doesn’t appeal to me. I clearly like this band in small doses, just a few songs here and there, as the albums get boring for me. Oh well, none of it was actually bad!

The Score: 4/10

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