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The Trophy Fire

Modern Hearts

(Greyday; US: 18 Oct 2011; UK: 18 Oct 2011)

All hook with no substance, the Trophy Fire burns weakly.

Like an alternate dimension look at what Matthew Good Band might have sounded like had it started in the current decade, while eschewing the political depth Good gave to his works, San Francisco’s Trophy Fire proves to be an oddity. The band’s blend of pop and rock fits in well enough to make initial listens to Modern Hearts no chore, but there’s not enough depth here to make the music as memorable as the band clearly wants it to be.


This is energetic music with the hooks to at least get the band through the door, but it’s hard to imagine songs like “Medicate Me” becoming hits no matter how much the band tries to rock behind Ben Flanagan as he says things like “I’m emptied out / so bored of being bored / medicate me” while attempting to sound as disaffected with modern life as he possibly can. As much as the band’s marketing folks want us to believe the Trophy Fire sound is “dynamic” and “fluid” it’s difficult to see Modern Hearts as much more than a listening stopgap, one you promptly forget about when something more interesting comes along. The best thing here is the blisteringly hot “Heartbeats” which comes near the end of the album, and the band can’t even take credit for it. Unless you’re already a fan of what this band has to offer, I’d suggest letting this one pass you by.

Rating:

Jonathan Sanders writes from Tell City, Indiana, where he lives with his wife Aimee. A 2008 graduate of Ball State's Journalism school with degrees in Magazine Writing / Design and History, Sanders has written extensively for Stereo Subversion, among other online publications. He currently edits "Hear! Hear!", a pop-music centered online blog, and writes for PopMatters and Pajamas Media. He has a voracious appetite for new music, and bristles at the thought that some still believe good music died with [insert band name here.]


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