Keely Chisholm, ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
The Tragic Thrills, made of up Zach Porter, Cameron Quiseng, Chris Morrison, Ans Gibson and Gabe Rudner is an indie rock group from southern California. Last year, the band independently released their self-titled debut album through Kickstarter and iTunes. Now, though, after seeing previous members leave and gaining new ones, The Tragic Thrills has signed with Razor & Tie Records and have re-released the album, to a much wider audience.
The Tragic Thrills showcases the band’s songwriting skills, Porter’s in particular. His songs tell stories, crafting vivid scenes and provoking images that make you want to go back and listen to the song again. Overall, the sound could be called soft rock, tinged with bits of folk and gospel.
“Tears” opens the album with a lively piano riff high in the background, and while the title might evoke heartbreak or sadness, it’s really a song about strength. It’s the reminder that we’re all only human and that even when we’re down, we can get up again.
“Afterthoughts” slows down the pace. This is the first example of Porter’s scene-setting, as he describes a restaurant with “walls covered with NASCAR drivers, the Beatles, and apple pie.”
The lull doesn’t last long, though, before “Crazy” kicks in as the obligatory “crazy ex” song. “Creeps & Strangers,” “Gospel,” “Alive” and “Everyday” follow. There is a theme throughout all four songs of striving for something more. “Creeps & Strangers” mentions when Porter and Quiseng first began making music together back in 2003, talking of the desire to be more than just a shadow on the street that people pass by. “Gospel” opens with a fitting organ-like sound reminiscent of church music before seguing into a soaring chorus. The opening of “Everyday” puts the listener in a bar next to Porter while he sings about feeling something’s missing.
“The Garden” is an unexpected kind of love song. The lyrics equate a relationship to caring for a garden, and it’s a refreshing take on love.
“Fever” is the kind of song that minces no words. There’s no skirting around or guessing as to what these stories are about—it’s obvious. Set against soft guitar strumming throughout, the rawness and honesty of the lyrics makes this one of the most powerful songs on the album.
“Main Girl” ends the album, with spoken verses bookending a chorus promising to be faithful. It’s a laid-back track that caps off the album like sitting down after a long day.
The Tragic Thrills an album of hope, poetry, and new beginnings. It is an album of ups and downs, of the fast-paced and the pensive. It’s a strong debut for The Tragic Thrills, and with this record, they’ve paved a wide path of potential for themselv