1984 RCA Europe Recordings
Note before reading my review: I readily and proudly admit that Trash is one of my guilty pleasures from 1980’s metal. I got their lone American release (on Atlantic records in 1985) and only in the past 2 years became acquainted with its far superior predecessor, hence this review.
Alright, first things first. I got Trash’s lone American release Burnin’ Rock when it came out in 1985. I loved the fact that a band would be so brazen to call themselves Trash, so I just had to find out for myself. Honestly, I felt that AC/DC was in a bit of a rut creatively at the time and it seemed obvious to me that Atlantic records was looking for someone to take their place and Trash halfways fit the bill whatwith their painfully simple toonz. However, the album was half good (not great) and half crap for my ears…but dammit, the enthusiasm of the band whipping every mediocre riff to death halfway won me over.
Then I looked them up (don’t ask me why…I have no legitimate answer) on Spotify just for shits an giggles and lo-and-behold I discovered that they had a release PRIOR to the one I was familiar with. I just couldn’t help myself. Make no mistake, this is no steaming reinvention of anything, but I’ve been listening to it incessantly for the past couple of months and thought it deserved a good review.
I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for ANY band making an attempt at an English language album when English is very obviously their second language (i.e. album closer No More Rock Tonight…umm…WTF?). I recently read the Wikipedia page on Jim Croce and saw a quote from him that sums it up for me…he and his band were picked to do a foreign exchange tour of Africa, Yugoslavia and the Middle East and he said “We just ate what the people ate, lived in the woods, and played our songs. Of course they didn’t speak English over there but if you mean what you’re singing, people understand.”
That really sums it up for me with this album. As I stated earlier, it’s no steamin’ reinvention of anything, but as you will also read elsewhere in The Sonic Abyss enthusiasm and conviction win the day with me. This album is full of both…riffs you’ve heard a million times before, but never like this. Lyrics you’ve heard a million times before, but never like this.
I’ve got to agree with Martin Popoff (my fave music writer/reviewer, bar none) when he said that lead-off track Vicious is the most kickin’ cover of a Lou Reed song ever. It is…in spite of lead singer Tony-Roy Taylor’s trouble enunciating the word (he pronounces it as “Wicious”)…and it just doesn’t matter because the song kicks ass. That’s where the aforementioned Jim Croce quote comes into play…if you mean what you’re singing, people understand.
You can find fault with any song on here…you can also find some real sincere rockin’ joy if you put your prejudice aside and just let the music breathe into you. Drop and Die has some tasty lead guitar licks all over the place that harken back to the best FM radio album cuts you love. That’s really what drives this album…a sense of innocent wonder and joy with regard to the sound of a good, distorted electric guitar playing chords that are heartfelt. Check out Name of the Game…tell me you wouldn’t just love hearing this song coming out of nowhere on your favorite station in the middle of the night. Yes, the lyrics again showcase the fact that English is their second language but I just don’t give a shit.
Some albums are better for their imperfections, and I’ll take sincerity with imperfections over perfect insincerity any day. Watch Out is a fun album that sounds to me like a pre-Internet age Scandinavian hard rock band trying to take full advantage of their one opportunity to crack the American rock market. I can’t fault any band for that when the result is an album that sounds like, to reference the aforementioned Jim Croce quote, they MEAN it.
This is one of those albums that is better for its imperfections and innocence. It brings me back to those glorious “music is everything” high school daze, and because of that I’ll always love it. The English-as-second-language thing may take some getting used to, but I guarantee you’ll be laughing WITH them and NOT at them when it’s over.
Overcome your guilt and enjoy Abysmally:)
Rating: 3.5 – 4 out of 5 (I can’t decide, but on a good day it’s a 4. Enthusiasm wins out.)
Download Trash’s album Watch Out from Amazon.com.