Things That Shine And Glow
“Write what you know,” is standard-issue advice to aspiring writers, though it could just as easily apply to aspiring musicians. Milwaukee’s Trolley certainly isn’t green—the band has been a local mainstay for more than 15 years—but its adherence to sticking to what it knows is laudable: Trolley plays straight-up power-pop, and plays it well. On the new Things That Shine And Glow (which can be streamed or downloaded here), the band stays well within its comfort zone, and manages to deliver another assured and charming effort.
Part of that charm lies in Trolley’s decision to spread the wealth amongst the band. Bassist Terry Hackbarth, drummer Patrick Morrow, and guitarists Mike Perotto and Paul J. Wall all take various songwriting and vocal duties throughout Things That Shine, making for a refreshingly diverse offering. The terrific “I Woke Up” serves as the disc’s rowdy opening shot, and does well by a chorus punctuated by “Oh, my lord!” and “Oh, my God!” lyrical hooks. Elsewhere, the woozy “In The End” channels The Kinks at their most forlorn, while the swirling, tympani-laden “My Obsession” and the sneering “Summer Long” recall Armed Forces-era Elvis Costello. The band has never been shy about wearing its mod tendencies on its sleeve, and nowhere is that more apparent than on the bouncy “Out Of Love” and the exceedingly pretty title track.
The 14 songs that make up Things That Shine And Glow are certainly of a piece—it’s impossible to go more than a minute without running headlong into a big chorus (“She’s The Kind Of Girl”) or an always-reliable minor seventh guitar chord (“’Til I’m Gone”). The dusty and reverb-drenched “Love The Way You Look,” however, provides a nice change of pace to close things out. It’s a fitting end to a collection of original yet instantly familiar songs that seem effortlessly plucked from the power-pop ether.