The Australian sad boys Trophy Eyes have made their long-awaited return with their fourth full-length album, ‘Suicide and Sunshine’. It marks their first full-length record since 2018’s ‘The American Dream’, almost five years after. They’ve also gone to release multiple one-off singles in between these releases, but finally settling on a whole album for 2023. This album explores themes such as suicide, depression, love, the things that make us feel alive, and the things that make us feel empty. And it goes on to explore different sounds, but in a way that feels consistent all the way through and really showcases Trophy Eyes doing what they do best once again.
The record opens with a short intro track, but energetic right off the back with its vocals with “Sydney”. This song reminds me a lot of how “Miracle” served it’s place on 2016’s ‘Chemical Miracle’, and shows this band didn’t forget their roots. It quickly transitions nicely into the next track and recent single, “Life In Slow Motion”. This track really shows off just how much they’ve progressed over the years so seamlessly and naturally. And it really shows the talent off to write such an upbeat sounding songs with a lyric like “Nothing means anything, I’m always tired” in there. The lyrics feel relatable as the song describes what it’s like watching your life go by as you’re nothing more than a passenger out of your own body. We continue on with the next track, and pick up some grimy energy with “People Like You”. You can really feel the mood they were going for with this one, as the bass is really underlined in the verses. It’s followed by a great chorus that really complements with it’s grimy verses to surround. A lyric like “Dying’s cheap, but I’m growing older” certainly sums up what this band has been about since day one lyrically. The emotion continues lyrically with “My Inheritance”, where the pop elements this band experiments with shine right off the bat. It’s just another example of seeing how far Trophy Eyes have come in sound since their inception. The lyrics here feel as raw as ever, with a lyric in the bridge being “I wish I could love you, I wish you were dead”. It seems to be about a former loved one, possibly wanting to love them throughout toxic behavior and ultimately wishing the opposite for them.
The record continues with the first single, and probably the best one being “Blue Eyed Boy”. I feel this song encapsulates this band perfectly; mixing old and new eras into one that feels like the best outcome. It reminds me of how I felt listening to “Chlorine” for the first time. The structure of the song really flows beautifully, feeling the raw nature of the vocals in the verses and bringing true melody in the choruses. This is easily one of the best songs on this record, and in their discography as a whole. The lyrics feel right at home on here too, wanting to save a friend from themselves and it taking a toll on you in the process. The lyric “I’d still die for you, but not for me” really sums up the tone of the song. We continue with what I feel is another easy highlight on this record, with “Runaway, Come Home”. Once again, the pop elements shine beautifully here and it shows off vocalist John Floreani‘s vocal progression and range so nicely. It really goes to show how well he can be both raw and melodic with his vocals when he needs to be. The full band coming in really hits hard in a rock ballad type song like this, I definitely see this track having multiple listens this year. We reach another interlude entitled “Burden”, where all I can say is that it fits right in to the middle of this record and that no track on here feels out of place or unneeded. It’s followed up with what’s without a doubt the most personable and emotional track on the album, with “Sean”. The song is about losing a friend to suicide and the effect it has on you after the fact, and I think the raw emotion truly comes through in the chorus with Floreani‘s haunting vocal delivery. The name drop of the title of the record near the beginning really puts into perspective just the thought process of the whole album. It’s why this band still continues to be one of the standouts in the scene and how honest and raw Floreani is as a songwriter.
We follow it up with the second single and one of the more catchier tracks, “What Hurts the Most”. For some reason, this song hits even harder after the previous track and it’s placement on the album. It’s a great and catchy song overall, but it feels even more meaningful in context. It also underlines how good Trophy Eyes are at crafting a melodic leaning track, even while throwing in emotion in the second verse. The layered vocals in the second and third chorus also feel like a very nice touch to this one. We continue on with “Omw”, which starts off with a killer main riff and cowbell which fits right in. It’s more of a bouncy and energetic kind of track, and it really has that feel especially during the bridge. It’s showcased with an awesome chorus, and a fitting and relatable line to end it with “Everything turned out just fine, but I still wanna die”. The pop outro feels very specific to this, which is another little thing I appreciate. We reach the third single off this record with “Kill”, and it feels instantly nostalgic to something from the early 2000’s. It has the feel of something specific like it’d belong on ‘Futures’ by Jimmy Eat World. It feels like a spiritual successor to 2016’s “Heaven Sent” lyrically, as it explores what seems to be a toxic relationship and feeling mistreated in it. One of the best lyrics on this whole record is still “If that makes me the devil, then what does that make you?”.
We start to near the end of the record with an acoustic love song, titled “Sweet Soft Sound”. It’s a very cute song that feels genuine lyrically, as if it’s straight from the heart and it’s funny placing this right after the last track. I also really appreciate the little musical additions in the background behind the main acoustic guitar and vocals, it really adds to the mood and tone of a song like this from just being a basic ballad. I do find the abrupt ending a bit jarring, since I was expecting a bit more from it. But we reach the penultimate track and another highlight on this album for me, with “Stay Here”. It once again shows off the progression of this band, and I’d just like to shout out how all of these different tracks feel like they belong to this album. It’s like the identity is truly felt throughout and they worked hard to capture that feeling. But this track flows really nicely, as it has a great chorus and the bass shines once more in the second verse. One of my other favorite lyrics on this record is on this song with, “If you go now, you will only pass on your pain”. Just when you think they can’t get any better lyrically, they step it the fuck up on this record. The record sends off with a fitting closing track, with “Epilogue”. Just like the lead single from this album, this song reminds me of the Trophy Eyes that I fell in love with. With a sing-along kind of chorus and an energetic and punk-rock bridge, it’s tough for this band to miss and they really made sure of that on this record.
So to really summarize this record, ‘Suicide and Sunshine’ showcases the best parts of Trophy Eyes for a fitting and emotional addition to their discography. Lyrically, they’ve outdone themselves and Floreani really pours out his heart and soul on this record for everyone to see once more and it pays off in spades. If you’ve ever been a fan of this band, I feel there’s something for everybody whether you’re looking for something catchy or something to destroy you.
Check out the video for “People Like You” below.