In nature, crown shyness is a phenomenon in which the crowns of neighboring trees refuse to touch one another, instead creating a canopy-like cover for the sun’s rays to peek through. From the ground, it’s a stunning image, and it paints a striking contrast between the trees’ interconnectedness at their roots and their complete detachment at their tallest points.
On their second full-length album, CROWN SHYNESS (out July 20), the UK-based TRASH BOAT push toward the light as they explore similarly disparate emotions, juxtaposing hard-fought introspection against external strife to create a propulsive, captivating blend of punk and melodic hardcore.
The album, produced by Andrew Wade (A Day To Remember, Neck Deep) follows 2016’s Nothing I Write You Can Change What You've Been Through, their debut LP for Hopeless Records that launched the quintet—vocalist Tobi Duncan, guitarists Dann Bostock and Ryan Hyslop, bassist James Grayson and drummer Oakley Moffatt—into the pages of Alternative Press and Rock Sound and onto festivals like the prestigious Reading and Leeds.
Two years of nonstop worldwide touring with acts such as New Found Glory, Beartooth and The Wonder Years fine-tuned the band’s jagged, muscular songwriting—and helped imbue Crown Shyness with an overflowing sense of honesty and, above all, accountability.
“There’s a lot of things I’d like to keep secret: bad decisions, anxieties, thought processes,” Duncan explains. “It’s so easy to hide those things, but it can be a self-defeating process if you never address any of your issues. Through songwriting, I can’t cut myself any slack. I’ll call myself out on these things and put them in a song, then I have to sing it every day on tour and remind myself. It stops me from slipping.”
So the band look inward, mining themes of personal responsibility (the caustic “Controlled Burn”), betrayal (“Shade”) and the subconscious (“Inside Out”) to wrestle with the at-times uncomfortable facets of ourselves. But at the same time they’re staring down the ugliness, they’re finding the joy in celebrating unbreakable bonds (“Love, Hate, React, Relate”) and resolving to live up to familial legacy (“Old Soul”).
It’s this push and pull that makes for such a powerful statement from a still-young band, an emotional awareness wiser than their years. Ultimately, Crown Shyness is overflowing with acceptance and understanding. Because Trash Boat don’t shut the darkness out—they invite it in, knowing the only way to break through that canopy and into the sunlight above is to embrace life’s obstacles head-on and work every day to defeat them.
“Throughout my life, I’ve always found music as something that challenges me,” Duncan says. “Sometimes you hear a song that hits you so hard, it feels like it was exactly what you needed to hear at that moment. The spark could change your day and challenge you. That’s what this album did: It challenged my anxiety, my family, my responsibilities, my past, my future. I spent a lot of time looking inward, and now the album is ready to reach out.” XX