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Twisting and contorting their sounds on this 16-track release with a surprisingly affable yet schizophrenic flair, the New Jersey post-hardcore outfit Trophy Scars has put forth a massive display of musicality on ALPHABET. ALPHABETS. The constantly shifting style this album exhibits goes from The Blood Brothers to Atmosphere to Dredg the tender side of Dropkick Murphys, allowing an unsettling but wondrous listening experience. The unorthodox instrumentations (harmonica, strings) and explosive arrangements found on cuts like "Alchemist. Alchemists" flow with an incredible sense of cohesion despite the obvious differences. From the lush piano that leads "Anxiety. Anxieties." to the balls out tough guy chug of "Yes" and "No", there's a plethora of influences apparent on this mammoth release that may be a bit too challenging for the average rock fan. And then there are the song titles, which are for the most part taken right out of the pages of the A-section of Webster's Dictionary, a trait that many may few as quite annoying. Nonetheless, this is an ambitious collection rich in genre-hopping punk rock that fans of things a little left of center will probably enjoy.
- Mike SOS