Ambition Coming Up Roses
Five piece rock group Trophy Scars are a band of the people. After their former label went belly up, these Jersey boys took a more independent approach and have enjoyed a decent reception, critical and otherwise. Holy Vacants is their fourth LP and has the sound of heart-on-sleeve rock n’ rollers yowling out their dreams. And though they are at their core a blues-based act, they are not beyond kicking into heavier terrain– or softer, for that matter. However, there is an interesting tension at play throughout the album that seems to be organic to the compositions which compels more than it really has any right to.
Though vocalist Jerry Jones might come off as you average cover band singer on “Archangel,” he shows some decent range in step with the band as they delve into more aggressive metal style as on “Burning Mirror” or grunge style balladry on “Extant.” Again, though Jones likely won’t strike you with anything overtly memorable, he has a certain kind of ambition that actually reminds of a poor man’s Axl Rose, as his double tracked vocals and wordy lyrics recall some of the lesser tracks on the Use Your Illusion albums Gn’R put out in the early nineties. Mind you, some of this comes off as a little enigmatically cheesy, like when Jones intones, “What’s a stake?/ What’s an apple?/ After you break the hearts of every apostle,” on “Hagiophobia.”
Still, Trophy Scars gets points for uniqueness. Though the bluesy riffs and yowling vocals recall much of rock n’ rolls less savory history, there is a quality here that just knocks the album off your typical hard rockin’ affair. There is conviction in the bizarre poetry of the lyrics, and though some of the tracks will leave you no choice but to cringe (“Vertigo”), the band just keeps charging through with big riffs and pounding drums that you might find yourself being swept up in it all for a moment.