Trampolene: Pick A Pocket Or Two – Album Review

Trampolene Pick a Pocket or TwoTrampolene: Pick A Pocket Or Two

(M17 Records)

CD/LP

Out on 7 September

8/10

Trampolene follow up their debut album Swansea to Hornsey with this compilation of tracks pulled together from their early ‘Pocket Albums’ (mini albums/EPs) allowing this new listener to revel in the full gamut and glory of the bands talent and Jack Jones song-writing.

I’m disappointed.

Disappointed that I haven’t been acquainted with the music of Trampolene before now. I’m glad to say this has now been resolved and that Pick a Pocket or Two is an inspiring introduction, giving an insight into all sides of the band and their art.

The double LP/CD is a compilation of tracks from previous releases and includes singles, fan favourites, poems and covers. The double album has discs labelled ‘Loud’ & ‘Quiet’ and to quote an old Ronseal ad, the discs do exactly what they say on the tin.

As you would expect, the ‘Loud’ disc features their full electric band compositions which are often raucous and tempestuous affairs like opener It’s Not Rock & Roll, “It’s not Rock & Roll that’s causing all this trouble” the ear-piercing squall of guitar histrionics on Divided Kingdom or the grungy rock on the likes of I Don’t Know.

Elsewhere on the ‘Loud’ disc you get other singles, throbbing bass heralding the arrival of My Bourgeoisie Girl and Tom Hardy, a light-hearted nonsense romp paying tribute to the gruff rugged Londoner, crediting him with such random things as the cure for cancer, making robots for NASA, buying cool trainers in Oxfam and playing Jimi Hendrix with one hand. “I wanna be Tom Hardy” Jones sings, by the end of the song, so do I. As well as fan favourites like Camden Mannequins “Camden mannequins in a shop window, wind them up and then watch them go” and its frantic drumming and manic storm of guitar.

Final track on this disc Swansea to Hornsey is a more toned-down sensitive affair and hints at what is to come on disc 2 ‘Quiet’.

Emotions. What good is music if it doesn’t arouse some sort of emotional reaction? Love, hate, sorrow, joy, anger… listening to music I can experience all of those and more, depending on the type of music, subject matter of the songs or who the lyrics are directed at. When music evokes no emotional response whatsoever, it’s a colossal turn off. Fortunately, Trampolene fall into the former, the senses and emotions stimulated category. If anything these passions are stirred even more so on the ‘Quiet’ disc than ‘Loud’.

Across many of the ‘Quiet’ tracks the tenderness of the music, sensitivity of lyrical content and vocal delivery from Jones really stir the feelings having me reacting in different ways, chills, lump in throat, tears almost welling up on occasion. Undoubtedly my frame of mind when listening makes a difference, I was obviously open to being affected on first listen. The acoustic guitar in places is so deftly and cautiously played it plays on the feelings. The last time I felt this was when I heard the Glasvegas track Change on their sophomore release Euphoric Heartbreak. On first listen to this, I was driving home from work realising I had tears rolling down my face.

The piano ballads and sensitive acoustic troubadour fashion of the tracks on the ‘Quiet’ disc bring to mind some of the greats of their time on occasion veering between your Jeff Buckley’s and Martin Stephenson’s.

Included across the album are a number of cover versions. On the ‘Loud’ disc we’re treated to The Cure’s Friday I’m in Love. It starts unassumingly but quickly turns into what sounds like Trampolene covering Dinosaur Jr covering The Cure (remember their version of Just Like Heaven?). Elsewhere, on the ‘Quiet’ side there are sympathetic and gentle covers of The Smiths oft covered Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want (think the cover by Dream Academy rather than the Muse version) and the late great Leonard Cohen’s Tonight Will Be Fine.

Jack Jones and company have a social conscience that really comes to the fore in the spoken word performances at the end of ‘Quiet’. Jones tackles mental health and wellbeing, ability to work, zero hour’s contracts on Health and Wellbeing (at the Wood Green Job Centre) Jones own mental health and the struggling NHS (Saving My Life in A&E) and, well, Slugs as well as discovering the essence of being a Libertine via a selection of soundbites from Pete, Carl, Gary, John and fans from around the globe.

I’m no longer disappointed.

Having heard this diverse selection of Trampolene’s work, I am motivated to seek out the remainder of their works, their Pocket albums and Swansea to Hornsea album. Pick A Pocket Or Two is well worth your hard earned cash. Just maybe don’t take the album titles advice in doing so…

Trampolene is on Facebook and Twitter.

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All words by Neil Hodge. More writing by Neil on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. You can also find Neil online at his blog thegingerquiff.

 

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