Here is a question for you all. What happens when you take a Wales-born musician fully ensconced in the Britpop scene and throw him into the emerging Indie rock scene of California? Think of a chemical solution. Sometimes you squeeze some fluid into the solution and, while you may be covering your face and bracing for impact, nothing happens. In this situation, the solution popped, and out erupted an intriguing mixture of Coldplay-esque melody and west-coast indie. The sound that splashes your ears is heavy on melody, harmony, and soul. And it ain’t acid. It’s damn refreshing. So how about we take a dip into Troup.
Troup formed after frontman Alex Troup moved to Los Angeles in 2006. In exploring the local music climate he met producer/keyboardist Evan Beigel and eventually added guitarist Claudio Tristano, bassist Darren Thomas McGuire and drummer Brandon Davis. Troup released their first album Last Chance for Romance and it has started gaining radio play everywhere from local California stations to BBC radio. And it’s totally alright to jump on board. The band demonstrates a keen ability to create radio-friendly hits that are all different. Troup does not suffer from the dreaded “it all sounds alike” syndrome.
“Edge of the World” leans on Troup’s British sensibilities, focusing on an easy-to-swallow chorus with light harmony and a crying echoed guitar slide, well done by Claudio Tristano. Troup has a wonderful pop/soul voice. If bands are carried by their lead singer’s ability, Troup (talking about the band now) will certainly be able to transcend markets. The “oh” and bridge portion around 2:30 is clear Britpop, and while I hate to beat a comparison, it does certainly sing out Coldplay or Snow Patrol. The song goes down smoothly and aside from a sound flicker throughout it fits Britpop like a warm mitten.
But hold on one second. I told you this band had diversity and “Some Lie” brings it. The song travels across the pond with Troup and demonstrates his Los Angeles experiences. It actually plays like an introduction to the city. I can imagine a chorus of California-ites doing the beginning “la, la, la” part as one hovers of the Hollywood sign. It reminded me of the las in Old Man River’s “La.” More importantly than my idiotic movie song ideas, “Some Lie” demonstrates the variety of Troup, and why I think this band can seriously go places. The chord progression is purposefully choppy in a relaxed fashion allowing the rhythm section of Darren Thomas McGuire and Brandon Davis to take over until the guitar comes in with an overlayed solo after the first verse/chorus, adding to an increasing wall of sound. I applaud Evan Beigel. It’s west coast blues, focusing on effects layered upon a blues track. And Troup uses this background to demonstrate his soul. He sings with passion and even grunts a bit. Killer song.
“Mickey Mouse Teeth” rounds out my three-song exploration of Troup, but I will provide you with where you can listen to more below. We drop down to an eccentric acoustic progression carried by Troup’s voice. It features this foot-stomping bass beat that combines with the western rhythm, heavy on singular percussion and spacey synth. It’s just another different song on a debut release full of gems.
Troup has a few places where you can visit them.