Trying / Leave and Never Come Back / July 2018
RIYL: Morrissey, Quarterbacks, Paul Simon
Trying’s Leave and Never Come Back is a 12-song ode to uncertainty, change, and relocation. The dread and excitement of moving to New York is the central motif mentioned throughout this coming-of-age tale. Cameron Carr’s unique vocal style immediately distinguishes this woozy indie-pop album from the rest. Through each song, Carr’s soothing voice oscillates through melodies in a limited register, not entirely unlike Morrissey, often highlighting tone over pitch.
Moments of falsetto punctuate narrow-ranged melodies, like on “The Bees are on Our Side Now,” when Carr jumps an octave to join another vocalist to repeat “I could dream this dream forever.” The background vocals coat the entire soundscape with an ethereal haze on songs like “Cozy,” “21,” and “The Grill.” The instrumentation dances along lightly and moderately upbeat, made more playful by the use of glockenspiel, mbira, melodica, violin, and miscellaneous percussive noises. The album only breaks a playful, controlled tone on a few occasions, getting momentarily dark, messy, and distorted on “Nobody Loves Halloween Like You Do,” “I’m Moving to New York,” and “21.”
In “21,” the most traditional pop song on the record, Carr fixates on the title, the word itself becoming a bit agitating by the song’s end, but the song’s skipping melody doesn’t grow old. Using an instrumental break mid-song allows the guitar to vamp on the melody, leaving it with you long after the song’s end. Finally, the song boils into an energetic, noisy barrage.
Another standout, “The Grill,” describes a dispute between the album’s focal couple. The song’s lyrics are a bit funnier than the musical tone (the line “Midnight cat-fight – she took the fucking grill” brought a smirk to my face), but the impact of the fight on the narrator isn’t lost.
Leave and Never Come Back recounts a relatable narrative of a turbulent period in the narrator’s life, detailing several tough decisions, relationship qualms, and impactful encounters. The album’s narrow-ranging melodies and dynamics left me craving more, but the few moments of unleashed guitar and passionate vocal delivery may draw a greater impact as few than many. Trying attempts to carve out their own sound in a crowded genre on this album, with Carr’s gloomy voice contrasting uplifting instrumentation, and an evidently constructed plot. If the first few songs catch your attention, keep listening, as the album is best listened to from start to finish.