Friday, April 19 2024

Trash Pals are a Los Angeles-based 2-piece comprising of Conor Rayne and Gabriel Schnider. Their influences are wide ranging, from Leonard Cohen to Nina Simone and Aphex Twin, and make for an eclectic mix of bitter sweet storytelling and catchy, accessible musical backdrops. Their collective musical pedigree is impressive; Gabe is a Julliard graduate, whilst Conor has produced with Chance the Rapper, Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus. It should be no surprise to learn that, as a duo, Trash Pals are rather good songwriters, with a clear understanding of melody, harmony and the building blocks for the successful transition of ideas to fully formed song.   

Sonya,’ their latest release, opens with a lead guitar fragment that evokes memories of The Beatles, ‘Here Comes the Sun.’ It’s both soothing and playful and perfectly encapsulates the narrative of the song; an almost mournful yet celebratory tale of nostalgia, where the protagonist, Sonya, tries to capture and reconcile memories from her childhood and principally her mother. As a narrative it’s emotive and beautiful, highlighting the maturity of both songwriters. The story bares the weight and the music is merely a supporting player, but a very accomplished and nuanced player at that. 

There is no huge choral device used throughout; the very definition of substance over style and that succinctly sums Trash Pals up. Like so many of those that influenced them they are, first and foremost, storytellers. There’s nothing trite nor cliché; just a story and the mechanisms to relate it. It almost feels archaic, given the current direction of musical composition and that which is deemed en vogue. 

It is only at the final chorus that the story is resolved; “… All night long, swirling songs. Fading melodies, her mother sang to her,” gently, almost whimsically delivered before the introductory lead fragment is reprised; Le refrain de parfe. This closes the circle, offers cadence, and in under 3-minutes we’ve been lovingly guided through a story, that is deliberately ambiguous and open ended. Is this a tale about processing grief, reconciling change or something more ethereal? It is, as all good stories, entirely subjective. 

However we view this wonderful composition it can’t fail to resonate with the listener. This is the perfect relationship of music and language and using music as language; it’s symbiotic and heartfelt.  

Structurally ‘Sonya’ is an anomaly for what could almost be conceived as the origins of a lullaby (at least in the terms of Sonya’s childhood recollections), it follows an almost rock format of riff, verse, chorus, riff, verse, chorus, bridge(mid-section), chorus, riff; it’s tight and lean, as the narrative dictates, but looking at that format alone, we could be looking at ‘Would’ by Alice in Chains, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ et a la. It’s something engrained in the pantheons of rock history and generally resolves around said riff.  ‘Sonya’ isn’t like that. It demands investment, both emotionally and auditory. It’s fragile and gossamer like at its core and all the better for it.  

Listening to Trash Pals other work is a rewarding and immersive experience. ‘Sunrise’ is an incredible fusion between The Beatles, Filter and My Bloody Valentine. ‘Everything you Do’ is a clever time slipping mix of mid-era Eels and Arcade Fire; dissonant elements working together to create a thoroughly engaging, yet tense experience. I absolutely adore this band and dearly hope that they gain the plaudits and success they richly deserve.  

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Review

Summary

Trash Pals deliver nostalgic whimsy with the softest of touches in this Indie Rock ode to Mother. This wonderful composition can’t fail to resonate with the listener.
89%
Heartfelt, Beatles-esque storytelling

Rating

Song Quality
Vocal Performance
Lyrics
Instrumentation
Production

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About Author

Gareth Johnston

Gareth Johnston is a Lancashire based musician and producer who studied music at MMU. He is a former reviewer for 'Glitzine' and when not writing for 'The Indie Grid' can be found restoring old furniture whilst listening to obscure alt-rock. He has too many favourite bands to pick one and insists it's easier to pick a favourite child.

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