**** (4/5 stars)
Visceral and bleeding. Alt Rock Trio Trampolene released their fourth EP The Gangway on the 12th of August 2016. After touring with the likes of Pete Doherty and performing at a multitude of summer festivals it’s been a much awaited release from the Swansea band.
Nostalgia can be a dangerous trait, but Trampolene use it to great effect in their title track. Jack Jones (guitar, vocals), Wayne Thomas (bass), and Rob Steele (drums) transport listeners back to adolescent sentience, whilst critiquing the pointlessness of classroom education in an age seemingly designed to encumber students in debt and doubt.
The second track ‘Tom Hardy’ kicks in with a bite of irony and a bangin’ drum beat. Influenced perhaps by poet John Cooper Clark’s knack of transforming mundane objects into acerbic metaphors, ‘Tom Hardy’ humorously reveres a quasi-god figure (that actor) through his choice of trainers and super-human abilities – ‘he took two hundred mushrooms and didn’t even trip.’ With a riotous chorus and heavy guitar lines, it leaves little speculation as to why The Gangway entered the UK Rock Chart at number 13.
Track three introduces a grittier version of The Cure’s ‘Friday I’m in love’ while track four ‘Letting you down’ melds melancholia with acoustic melodies to create a heart-wrenching ditty.
Now, don’t scream, but if you’re a fan of the Libertines, the final track features the four troubadours reciting lines in Jack Jones’ latest poem ‘To be a Libertine’. ‘Something truthful, something raw, something worth living for’, Jack Jones epitomizes a Libertine’s dire hunt for freedom and artistic exultation set against a backdrop of dirt and sacrifice. Recorded on Jack’s phone (unlike the rest of the EP which was recorded at Konk Studios), Jack’s nod to the ethos of The Libertines (a band he supported during their UK arena tour), encapsulates a certain quote by Percy Shelley: ‘Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted’. By acknowledging the presence of grime and phlegm in a rock n roll life, Jack makes the tough bohemian existence as desirable as Joe Strummer’s Telecaster.
The EP fades out to a crowd chanting for the Libertines. With their hard work ethic and impressive songwriting, I doubt it’ll be long before the name ‘Trampolene’ gets such ardent attention.
Favourite lyric: ‘when I go to sleep at night I wake up blind because my dreams are so bright’.
Trampolene will be playing gigs throughout the rest of 2016. Check out where and when at http://www.trampolene.co.uk/