Trout: Five Rooms EP (2012)

Bio (from the band):
Trout is being locked in a damp cave while The Cure play with Jesus and Mary Chain’s gear with the volume turned up too high.  Lo-Fi shoegaze-y cold wave with a bass that whispers sweet nothings into one ear while the guitar screams into the other. Trout formed in the south of France, non-plussed by the sunny weather, and has currently put out a demo EP on the net and is working on an album between shows.

Lény Müh (Vocals), 
Daniel Selig (Guitar), 
Léo Louis-Honoré (Bass), 
Zoom G2 Pedal (Drums)

Lately it seems I’ve been receiveing a lot of music to review from outside the US.  I am always impressed when a band chooses to make music in a non-native tongue, but I guess it is often a matter of necessity.  If you want to be heard outside of your native country, you (pretty much) are going to have to make an album in English.  This is sad to me; there are so many beautiful things I’ve heard in other languages – like German or French hip-hop for example – but unfortunately (especially here in the US), people just won’t give much of a chance to music they can’t understand.  I‘m, still perplexed as to how Rammstein ever got big here.

...and they like the X-Files.
…and they like the X-Files.

Trout is a post-punk band from Toulouse, France, that sounds like they could have stepped directly out of late-80’s London.  On their debut, FIVE ROOMS EP, Trout has a very fuzz-heavy, guitar-driven sound, backed by simple bass and drums.  Their singer, Müh, reminds me a bit of Robert Smith; there is something very british and almost pre-Goth in his vocal style. Müh’s delivery is so mid-to-late-80’s London that it almost comes off more as parody than tribute.  This may be just his voice, this may be intentional, or this may be the consequence of singing ina second language, but I found his delivery to be just a bit too much.  There was also a crudeness to the lyrics that did not appeal to me; the obvious example is “Go Fuck Myself,” which drops more F-bombs than a drunk Dennis Leary, but moreso than just the crass aspect there were bits that I just didn’t get.  “I am feeling like in an Araki’s film / I hear a douchebag in the shower who’s washing / I’m in a strange mood and I’m looking for my mind” Müh sings on “In a Strange Mood.”  I assume “In an Araki’s film” is referring to Gregg Araki, and that pretty much always equals a strange situation, but… huh?  Lyrically, I was mostly less-than-impressed,  but seriously: I couldn’t write a song in French to save my life, so Trout is way out ahead of me.

Musically, I got a lot more out of 5R.  Sure: what Trout has put together is simple post-punk rock, but it is done relatively well.  There’s nothing super-technical or flashy going on, but you also wouldn’t expect anything like that out of the genre.  The guitar riffs are catchy and do a good job of burrowing their way deep into your brain.  The guitar is a little over-reliant on the fuzzy distortion, almost to a fault; I would expect something in this genre to be fuzzy and distorted, but the tone on the distortion is very one-dimensional.  The sound of 5R would benefit from some variation on the tone of the distortion to keep it from getting stale, which it does in only five songs.  The bass is mostly there to back the guitar, though it does step out of the shadows on occasion and make its presence known.  The drums are very basic and mostly forgettable, but as they are soulless this is no surprise.

Look!  It's a bird!  It's a plane!  It's a poisson!
Look! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a poisson!

Overall, 5R is not bad, not great; it’s not something I’d probably revisit too often on my iPod.  5R does have some major positives going for it: first off it is music in a second language, and for something not in a native tongue you have to give it some credit.  Secondly, 5R was recorded in November of 2012… and Trout got together in October of 2012!  This is an extremely “green” album, and when you look at it in that context it is pretty damned impressive.  If Trout takes some time to play together more, to define their sound better, to work a bit more on their lyrics, and finds a real drummer, they could make some fine music.  For a first, almost premature attempt, 5R doesn’t completely fall flat, but it still needs from work.

Overall 5 / 10

5R for sale:

5R site:

Trout: Five Rooms EP (2012)
Trout: Five Rooms EP (2012)

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