Head Vs. Heart
Trolley definitely takes some warming up to, as their well-produced, top 40-tinted pop is molded in the name of emotional indie rock, a genre whose patrons stereotypically don’t appreciate such shined aspects. Granted, there’s a blatant mainstream appeal to Head Vs. Heart , which contains very little of the rawness familiar to indie-rock and is, instead, radio-friendly in both song structure and spirit. Still, though, there’s a faint tenderness buried within the well-polished guitars that comes out with each listen.
While not immediately captivating, some of Trolley’s tunes are impressively catchy. They’re rather eclectic, hitting all bases between Brit-pop and old-time rock reminiscent of “That Thing You Do,” complete with vocal harmonizing. Lyrically, the songs are far from poetry, but the band’s moody collection of love songs comes off rather decent through the smooth, boyish vocals of singer Paul Wall. Having Garbage’s Mike Zirkel as the album’s engineer may have been their kiss of death, though, as some of their pop songs end by fading out and strategic placement of guitar distortion leave Trolley hopelessly wading between a mainstream sound and an indie mentality. And while there are undeniably pop gems buried in the hubbub, the genre-homeless nature of Trolley takes a good grain of salt to accept.
Easter Records, P.O. Box 511344, Milwaukee, WI 54303