Chemical Miracle, by Trophy Eyes
Suggested by Todd Beckett
I have a theory about the vampire movie From Dusk till Dawn.
For those who don’t know, From Dusk till Dawn was Quentin Tarantino’s first paid writing assignment. The plot follows a pair of American criminals (George Clooney and Tarantino himself) who take a family hostage (Harvey Keitel and Juliette Lewis) in order to cross the border into Mexico, where ultimately they are trapped in a saloon frequented by vampires.
It’s a weird film, and worth a watch. The first half is taut gangster thriller, with all the usual Tarantino trademarks of tight dialogue and complex characters. The second half, in the vampire bordello? High camp schlock horror with Wilhem Screams and buckets of fake blood. The disconnect between the two halves is headsnap-whiplash jarring, as if two separate movies have been spliced together to create a Frankenfilm.
My theory on the film is that, at the time of writing, a poor and unknown Tarantino was likely sharing accommodation with a mate or acquaintance. Said mate asked one evening if Quentin would like to join him at the pub for a few tidy scoops. Quentin, deadline looming, turned down this kind offer, saying he had to finish writing his taut gangster film for the deadline tomorrow. His mate then headed to the pub, returning in the small hours completely rat-arsed, where he found Quentin still toiling over his script. “You’re not finished that scrip’ yet?” Quentin’s mate slurred, grabbing Q’s pen. “Let me help! Let’s see… VAMPIRES! Put loads of vampires in it. With BOOBS! That’d be AWESOME!”
And so Quentin Tarantino would watch his script be hijacked by a leery boorish oaf, powerless to stop this idiot crapping on his artistry.
So. Trophy Eyes.
Fire up your streaming service of choice, and play the Trophy Eyes song Chorine. Just the first fifteen seconds will do. Starts nice, no? Jangling guitars, spacious and airy vocals, energy in the backbone bass and beat. Then, suddenly, the band’s personal Tarantino’s Mate staggers into the room and vomits on the sofa.
I mean, who in their right mind would even consider that vocal sound as a realistic and adult choice? Why tarnish decent melodic power-pop-punk with such a barking doggerel?
It continues like this for the entire album, each song full of promising and refreshing music that’s brutally and inexplicably slaughtered by a modulated emo screaming. Without the singing, it’s all good. Every track feels warm, cosy, like a hot chocolate on a winter’s morning, until the asinine vocalist smacks you in the chops with a snow shovel.
Thanks to the murderous vocalist, a deeper review reads like a CSI report. The galloping Counting Sheep? Stabbed through the heart. The exultant Nose Bleed? Shot in the eye. Of the eleven tracks, there are only two survivors, and one of those, the low-fi building closer Daydreamer, is on life support. Only my standout track Breathe You In escaped from this spree killer unscathed, but oh what horrors it must have seen as it fled.
I’m genuinely angry with this album. The sound promises so much, giving glimpses of beauty at every step, before a drunken interloper starts penknife-slashing at the tapestry with a rending howl. Chemical Miracle gets 7 for the music and 1 for Tarantino’s Mate, settling on a wholly unimpressive 3/10.