Trophy Wife: All The Sides
We’re told, or led to believe, that in the end, it’s all just a huge pile of content, sitting there, waiting. The playing field has been leveled; the opportunities are endless. The landfills, however, are not. They beckon and plead: fill me.
The result – the symptom – is frontloading, getting the hook up front to grab attention. Because no one has an attention span any more, we’re told. Because everything is available to everyone at all times, no one gives a shit about anything, and we’re becoming zombies, sleepwalking through our day trying to kill content. Annihiliate this stream, this viral video, all week long.
But it’s bullshit is the thing. There’s evidence everywhere: unlikely comebacks, TV series sprawling out over six, seven seasons, killing cliché as they develop characters to be considered outside (and far away) from a 22-minute frame, serial podcasts, you name it. The diagnosis that we’re dulled by and slave to the stream of content perpetuates itself when we buy in – but the increasing realization that the quick-hit simulacra is bogus is just over the horizon and easily visible with a few steps closer. Artists who eschew the quick fix in favor of nuance and authenticity and the long haul are those few steps.
And just over that horizon is Trophy Wife, with All the Sides, their third long-player. This Philly two-piece painstakingly crafts their mini-epics of bombast and nuance, and they do it by (get this) listening to each other. By spending time in the practice space focusing on how many times, how loud, how this part drops out so this other part can kick in. It sounds simple because it is, but it can’t always be: guitarist Diane Foglizzo and drummer Katy Otto are both sick players, able to stop on so many dimes, drop oddly timed phrases in and out with nary a seam, and twist distortion into contemplation (and vice versa). I can imagine how easy it might be to just go off and let the sparse arrangement pick up the metaphorical slack. But nope. Both members realize throughout that they’re halves of a greater whole, and through this understanding – through servicing the songs they write, at the expense of going off or over – they show listeners that patience is rewarded, that things come together over time, and that music, despite the new economy or whatever, does not have to be disposable to be noticed. It can be heartfelt and passionate and difficult and no less rewarding.
Audrey’s Song is a perfect embodiment of everything Trophy Wife does well: picked single notes yield to sheets of distortion, as Foglizzo and Otto’s vocals buzz, conjoin, and fly away; toms roll, measures drop and reappear seemingly on their own accord. It’s affecting stuff which rewards repeated listens, which is what the band wants, more than a quick hit. This is long haul stuff, the fragility and empowerment of sustenance.
Michael T. Fournier