Five long years ago Trolley issued the Things That Shine and Glow album and created a minor power pop classic in the process. It boasted some great tunes that evoked the spirit of the 60s, especially The Kinks, The Beatles and The Zombies, yet also referenced contemporaries like The Pillbugs, The Fountains of Wayne and Cotton Mather. And in I Woke Up one of the best power pop songs of this, or indeed any other decade.
The band’s new album Caught in the Darkness gets its vinyl release – rather fetching light orange and a glorious sleeve – courtesy of Sugarbush records in the UK.
Its an album that has some obvious charms like the Help-era Beatles homage of Crying all The Time and the 80s new wave-ish She Has It All. Yet keep spinning it, and in addition to the hook-laden choruses and syrupy harmonies you’ll find odd time changes, middle eights that really shouldn’t work but do and, on the album’s finale, a very strange electronic/classical music influenced psych out.
Highlights – well the opener and title track track evokes late 70s power pop with its staccato drumming, Wurlitzer style keyboards and Beatley harmonies. Step Into The Clear is another power pop gem which starts with some tinkling keyboards before heading into prime Zombies minor key territory with its complex but rather lovely middle eight.
Side two continues the jangle-fest but with some interesting diversions like Losing That Madly In Love With Her Feeling the closest they get to a ballad which boasts some rather exquisite harmonies.
And then there’s the album’s finale, Take My Love, a psychedelic influenced gem that to these ears recalls the New Monkees- album – before it descends into a bonkers instrumental fade.
There have been quite a few striking power pop albums this year, but Caught In The Darkness is certainly rubbing shoulders with the best of them. If you love The Zombies, or a need a sunny pop antidote to the wintry grey skies, then you should definitely give this a spin.