Back in December of last year, London band The Trudy released their latest EP. The seasoned group formed back in 1979 have been through various incarnations, yet still manage to create ever-evolving and refreshing sounds.
This EP from the group, now in trio-form of Melissa Jo Heathcote (vocals), Del Tagg (guitar) and Peter Tagg (drums), gets underway with the short introductory welcome of 'Dawn'. This is a superb welcome to the EP in an ambient and chimey, almost shoegaze form before 'Where The Roses Grow' offers an emotive realm of its own.
'WTRG' presents a really striking plucking pattern and opens into a considered chamber of thought. Vocals soar and deviate with ease - which is a true credit to Melissa Jo's naturally gifted voice. There's an intriguing change of pace in this song that The Trudy claim is a "progressive nature trail", and powerful downstroke chords usher in a real high point. The song delves into an excellently layered harmony section that, for me, extends parallels to rock and folk voices of the past. I found a subtle likeness to Fleetwood Mac and even Maddy Prior of Steeleye Span - not so much in tone with the latter, yet with how the female lead swirls, complimenting the band's instrumental talents to a T.
On top of this, another feature that adds to an enjoyable listen, is the tremolo guitar. This brings about a real strutting cowboy feel before a more tubular lead comes into play while flute inflections waver in the background. Dynamic and enjoyable - The Trudy might be on to something when they say "you could place this song in any decade."
Following this, is ‘Dear Sancho’ - a tune that certainly builds on this combative and adventurous tone found prior. Although, not as personally favourable as the first track, I can still admire the drama that The Trudy exclude while recanting their own take on the classic Spanish tale of Sancho Panza and Don Quixote that many perceive as the first modern novel. Described as the band’s “cinematic literary opus”, the listener is treated to intriguing imagery that’s excellently brought together by Melissa Jo’s voice and a surging chord progression. The mention of “giant’s smoking cigars” is particularly engaging among other things.
The bass track laid down gives the song a superb grounding, where guitar plucks away on top. Just before the halfway mark, ‘Dear Sancho’ accelerates into a new gear and although not deviating from the tried and true chord progression - the audience flies through to a sonic and self-professed “epic conclusion”.
‘Every Story Ever Told’ offers a timely change of tempo, as listeners are taken from 1600s Spain, to the folk-infused coastline. There’s an opportunity to collect the thoughts as this acoustic track looks longingly out at the deep blue beyond with great desire. ‘ESET’ tells the story of a sailor “who dreams of the sea” aptly “looking down to the waves longingly to be free”. While tied to the mainland in this near-torturous and conscious limbo state, the sailor finds escape and solace in his dreams as “no one knows where he goes to, every night as he sleeps”. “I am free” follows as a declaration to act on the impulses of aspiration - which in this case have been exacerbated by a sailor’s slumber.
The instrumental jam that is ‘Giants Theme’ slides into existence and sets an instant swagger just seconds in. Playing in accordance with a previous brooding chord progression found in songs before it, ‘Giants Theme’ is an excellent platform for the electric guitar of Del Tagg to roam and scream to the fore. Light vocals filter through in parts, as this one sets up the finale of ‘Pop Pop’ and the instrumental closer of ‘Arrival’.
‘Pop Pop’ is an upbeat slice of punk pop. There’s a great pace and nature to this track, with an inbuilt need to move. I could see this one closing out a show nicely, with the tense energy of prose, harmonies and cowboy motifs finally getting a time to be released emphatically.
“Massive guitars & drums, with sneering, but sweet, vocals about the inevitable loss of love. Catch this Trudy track while you can. We may not hear its like again as The Trudy plot a new course with a set of follow up songs to be released next year.”
‘Arrival’ closes off with, again, fine instrumental ability. It’s a bright, minute-long movement of guitar chords that ends the EP - with its title perhaps alluding to the destination of the collection. Along the way, we’ve heard narratives and imagery with instrumental skill - and thus in the process, have come to know The Trudy and their enjoyable listens.