Trophy Wife - Bruxism

Four fifths unabashed dance party, one fifth hide under the covers.


So far, Trophy Wife have released some outstanding singles (‘Microlite’, and the double A-sided ‘The Quiet Earth’ / ‘White Horses’) but we’ve yet to see a debut album. Cheeky teases. This is the closest we’ve got yet: a new five-track EP, with each one of the songs produced by someone different. ‘Bruxism’ is the name, which sounds strange for a collection of music, given that it’s the very technical dental term for the teeth grinding some people do involuntarily while asleep. The Oxford trio have explained that each of them suffers from sleeping disorders, and each song on the EP relates to a different disorder.

All that aside, it’s the song quality that should be getting listeners hot and bothered, not the EP title. ‘Canopy Shade’, which was the first taster released from the EP, was co-produced with Plaid and is a peppy, boppy number that fits the band’s former description of themselves when they first arrived on the scene, “ambitionless office disco”, perfectly. This is dance done in a very sleek and not at all vulgar or scandalous way: tambourine shakes and singer Jody Prewett’s tremolo-ing vocals on the chorus are combined with synths that are tuned at just the right level of frenetic.

The sexy bass line shines in the bridge of the title track, but it’s Prewett’s words, tantalising and at the same time, a little creepy, that steal the show, with repeated airings of “I can’t sleep / when you’re not here with me / next to me” and “I don’t want anyone at all / I don’t want anybody else”. Is this a man you want you want to cuddle… or should you keep him out of your bed?

The other three songs are about escape and running away, presumably of the subconscious sort. With its ethereal vocals setting off in progression, ‘Seven Waves’ gains momentum when the piano bangs in and brings you out of your temporary moment of relaxation. The conflict explored of solitary lunar ‘Sleepwalks’, while Prewett tries to “ignore the rhythms for another way out”, is turned into a brass loving disco. No surprise then is it that the track was produced and mixed by Ewan Pearson.

It’s almost with some regret that the five-pack of songs ends with ‘Wolf’: shadowy like film noir, Prewett is left as “just a passenger”, knowing “this is not my home” while bells chime out menacingly and sounds are compressed and stretched out around the dark corners of the song. It’s haunting but after the freeing dance beats earlier, it’s a slowed down disappointment, despite being produced by Foals’ Yannis Philippakis. Final verdict: four fifths unabashed dance party, one fifth hide under the covers.

More like this

Big Albums in 2020: The Magic Gang

Big Albums in 2020: The Magic Gang

With their self-titled debut, The Magic Gang smashed into the Top 20 and proved that indie wasn’t dead. Now, they’re broadening their horizons and getting ready to hit the sweet spot once again.