"Trophy Wife" - the Winter Sounds
An intent, energetic rocker with an underlying Cure-ishness at its core, from its ringing, two-part guitar melody and mobile bass line to its yelpy-voiced front man, Patrick Keenan, who edges pleasantly towards the almost hysterical in his upper register. I'm mentally searching rock history for this voice's precedent and I can't find anything notable that goes further back than Robert Smith, truly the godfather of the almost-hysterical yelpers who've come along since 1979. I like how you can hear Keenan gulp for air in the middle of the chorus (e.g. 1:22); there's a guy who's singing first, asking questions later.
For all its relentless flow, "Trophy Wife" is nicely put together. First, there's the long introduction. Most long introductions just sort of tread water, and kind of bother me; this one sets the mood and contains actual melodic development. Much better. Second, note how the briskness and melodic movement of the verse is counterbalanced by the chorus, the first part of which is sung largely on just one note, and the second part of which is sung at half the pace of the rest of the song. Also, check out how the beginning of the second verse has a different melody than the beginning of the first verse. I like when that happens. And then there's that strangely captivating bridge with interweaving falsetto vocals (2:39). Didn't see that one coming.
The Winter Sounds are a quartet that split their time between Athens, Georgia and Chicago. "Trophy Wife" is a song from the band's second album, Church of the Haunted South, due out next week on Nashville-based Theory 8 Records.