How do you embrace music that has been missing from your system after a long absence and having the thought it may never happen again? Simple, by singing “Welcome Back.” It’s an anthemic, charging song that announces the return of five genius musicians who play and write songs with depth, wisdom and drama and the discordant sound for which they are famous. These lads are known as the Trashcan Sinatras.
After eight years of struggle and triumph, the boys are back to share music that fell through the cracks when they were dropped by indie label Go!Discs. The dismissal left the band with nothing, forced to pick up the pieces and start all over again. Happily, the guys were more than ready for the challenge.
The result is Weightlifting, TCS’ fourth full-length album . It flaunts 12 carefully crafted, thought-provoking songs with lush harmonies that engage the listener’s emotions. The album reflects the band’s growth and gradual evolving and offers much to enjoy and cherish. From the love-letter-to-love-song “Got Carried Away” (featuring Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub on backing vocals), a heartfelt and sad song that manages to sound hopeful.
Another gem is “All the Dark Horses.” The song features the dextrous mixing of Andy Chase (IVY) along with a tender acoustic guitar sound tangling with electric riffs. The narrative lyrics’ glowing effect is very well-tuned; a twist of pop in the tune inspires sobs and smiles, as does the cut “Leave Me Alone.” Gentle as it may sound, “Trouble Sleeping” uplifts with its cradling orchestration, while also managing to remind the listener of what really happened in the band’s quiet hometown of Irvine. And the overwhelmingly moving and discerning “What Women do to Men” hauntingly describes relationships straightforwardly: “Did you suppose your lovers’ quarrel would bring renewal of your love and forget to make up?” The song reminds us not to take everything for granted.
If one song best embodies the CD’s tranquil theme, it would be “Country Air,” though the message may be anything but peaceful, its melody communicates serenity, as do all of the album’s 12 tracks. Lastly, the title track bears witness to the way in which TCS’ members stood up with great effort and learned to love themselves again. The music simply floats, and empathy and admiration flow through lines like “Don’t become a burden / Say the word and be free.”
In its entirety, Weightlifting is a heathery sensation you can relive over and over. Its gentle sound encourages listeners to relax and enjoy the view (think the Highlands of Scotland). Though this may not be Trashcan Sinatras’ masterpiece (that would be Cake, but that’s another review), after the long wait, it’s gratifying to hear that even through adversity, the band didn’t lose their beauty and essence. It’s lifted its flag once more, “Easing your mind, a great weightlifting.”
Welcome back to the most underrated band in the world! (Pau T)