like foals? yup? well then this band might be right up your street. or maybe not…
last monday i was invited to see trophy wife headline ‘showcase presents’ at madame jo jo’s in soho, london. also on the bill were jackson scott’s flamenco band mano de dios and big chorused indie essex boys i dream in colour. i went into the evening full of anticipation for trophy wife, unfortunately i came away feeling, hmm, slightly awkward.
trophy wife, like foals are from oxford. trophy wife, like foals engage in a self-conscious stage presence. trophy wife, like foals play a tense intricate disco math rock that often builds from a pin drop to an all out knee jerking panic. the similarities could go on. if foals did not exist and trophy wife were delivering such modern sounds for an unsuspecting wishful first time audience, they’d be labelled as interesting - not fantastic, but at the very least an interesting sound. the fact that every high fret note, every vocal and every awkward stage advance reminded me of yannis et al marks trophy wife down as a band lacking identity. worryingly because they’re from oxford and they’ve actually supported foals on tour, it makes trophy wife seem, well a little creepy.
the sound in madame jo jo’s wasn’t tip-top; often the vocals struggled to project once in full swing, while the sparse crowd supplemented what was already a difficult inspection. i wanted to enjoy trophy wife, i really did. i’d read some relative hype, heard their ‘microlite’ single and had previously been told of the foals comparison, but I had no idea it would be quite so palpable. having fallen in love with the sounds of oxfordshire over the last few years through the brilliance of songs such as ‘spanish sahara’ and ‘two steps, twice’, i couldn’t help but feel unresponsive to a blatant replica. thankfully, the gypsy beats of mano de dios and the passion and authenticity of i dream in colour saved the night from feeling like a cheesy, drunken monday night of karaoke in soho.