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Trojan Horse - Wicker CD (album) cover


Trojan Horse


Crossover Prog

3.86 | 3 ratings

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4 stars Trojan Horse is a Crossover Prog band from Manchester, England. The band started out as a family affair in 2007, formed by the Duke family consisting of Eden on keys, synths and bass; Gary on various instruments and production; Nicholas on guitars, keyboards and percussion, Lawrence on bass, guitars and percussion and originally their father Danny on the drums, who stepped down in 2009. The current drummer is Joseph Wood. All members contribute to vocals.

The bio on prog archives mentions that the band has disbanded in 2019. This, however, does not mean that the band has split up. On their Facebook page, the band says that there is a lot of newly recorded material that may come out as an album shortly, that may also be released under a new band name. There is also a rarities type compilation that will be coming out under the Trojan Horse moniker. The band is in a state of flux as far as what direction they want to take their music in as they want to do something totally outside the box and the reason for the hiatus is because they want to learn to do this different "something" that doesn't lend itself to the usual structure that typically emphasizes guitar, keyboards, percussion, bass and vocals. Sounds interesting. But we'll all have to wait and see what happens there.

In the meantime, the band has released this EP called "Wicker" (released in July of 2019). According to the band, these are tracks that didn't fit on their previous acclaimed album "Fukushima Surfer Boys". However, the sessions for this EP were recorded right after the sessions for that album. Another interesting thing about this album is that the band line-up does not list specific instruments for the individual members other than saying they play instruments. Hmmm, that's intriguing. The EP is made up of 5 tracks with a total duration of 32 minutes.

The EP starts out with "Willow's Song" which begins with a very lush and softly layered sound and airy, subdued vocals with harmonized layering. This sound is very hazy and softly textured, almost like laying down on a pile of soft sheets while a cool breeze blows over you. Soon, a subdued percussion starts and a synth stands out somewhat from the textured sound. This sound is extremely beautiful. "Gently Johnny" begins on a repeated low synth and thumping percussion line. The music retains a dreamlike texture, but the vocals are more direct this time. The synth layers are nicely intriguing even with the repetitive pattern, and the vocal harmonics and effect in the 2nd round of the chorus are lovely. The addition of the keys giving everything a European vibe during the instrumental break is another nice touch. The 3rd go round with the chorus sees it turned into a type of "round" which turns into a nice choral feel. "Maypole" has a fluttery percussive sound, vocals and fast moving melody line. The lyrics are almost childlike or maybe even folkish and the harmonies make the song interesting.

The next two tracks are around the 9 minute mark each. They are two different versions of "Hammer & Spike". Both of these versions were included on the album to demonstrate the differences of style that band is now working with. First is the more "acoustic/electric/electronic" sound in version one. The version has a churning, bassy sound that rolls along backing things up, with organ and synth sounds and echoing vocals over the top. The beat is moderately slow and rolls along persistently with most of the change being in the keyboards. Tension builds as the track continues, getting slowly louder and heavier. The 2nd version of the song takes the band away from their preferred manner of composing by changing their usual instruments, probably reflecting the more unusual style that they want to move to. This style is more experimental, with a shimmering electronic pattern underlying the track, vocals eventually come in, similar to the previous version, and more electronic patterns come along in a higher register. Percussion is not evident until the 3 minute mark, when a subtle thumping sound and then a slapping or patting sound keeps time, not so subtle this time. The vocals continue in the same vein however, with a lower voice or effect singing in tandem at times. This has a Radiohead style to it, but with more passion in the vocals in the second half. The 2nd version is definitely more electronic.

This EP does quite effectively what it sets out to do, generate interest in the band, it's odd but interesting experimentation of music. It definitely made me interested in checking out more of their music and also makes me want to watch where they go from here. The music isn't really your standard sound anywhere on the EP, and while it is experimental, it is still quite accessible. If you love the layered and dreamy sound of some of the shoegaze or post rock bands out there, I think you will like this, but I find the music is a bit more adventuresome and experimental than the typical shoegaze as the harmonies are great and the music is more interesting. Since this is an EP, it is only a small sample of their sound, but after reading other reviews about their past albums, it seems that their music is anything but standard, and that definitely gets my interest. Anyway, this is a great EP, but I want to hear more, so that is the biggest shortcoming of the album, not long enough.

TCat | 4/5 |


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