Release Date: May 13, 2016
Record label: Red River
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop
Since the band started in 1987, the Trash Can Sinatras have always been reliable. Every record has delivered exactly what people needed from them: lovely guitar pop songs done with a light touch, deep emotional feelings, and melodies as rich and warm as a late-autumn heat wave. Since their original run ended in the '90s, they've come back regularly to remind people that they are just about the best guitar pop band still going, with a new album roughly every five years or so.
Trashcan Sinatras are not what one might call prolific. After the eight-year gap between 1996's long out-of-print A Happy Pocket and 2004's career zenith Weightlifting, it took five years for 2009's In the Music to emerge. Seven years later, we now have Wild Pendulum, only their sixth full-length album since their 1990 debut Cake and, like its predecessor, also the product of a successful crowd-funding campaign (this time via PledgeMusic).
Trying to classify the Trashcan Sinatras is a bit of a tricky proposition. They’re light and airy, but not so much that they lean into twee. They’re poppy, but not aggressively so. Yet, they don’t indulge in the sort of cerebral pop composition that would place them in the “sophisti-pop” realm occupied by fellow Scots Orange Juice or Aztec Camera.
Trashcan Sinatras have a lot of road behind them—nearly 30 years’ worth—and on album number six, the melancholy Scots take a catchy, joyous look at their own mortality and decide it’s worth celebrating. Why shouldn’t they? It’s been a weird ride, with college-radio and 120 Minutes success—remember those?—out of the gate as the ’80s became the ’90s, followed by some gorgeous records but fading public awareness. A long hiatus starting in 1996 signaled the end, but by 2004, a small but dearly dedicated fan base seemed to almost will the Trashcans back from the abyss of wavering public interest and near financial ruin.
From the promise and potential of debut release Cake in 1990, with its faultless first single 'Obscurity Knocks', through two more brilliant records in the '90s, the Trashcan Sinatras never garnered the recognition they deserved. Whilst contemporaries went on to gain greater exposure, the Trashcans' brand of intelligent, melodic guitar pop was cherished by a core following (primarily in the US, UK and Japan) but continually failed to reach a wider audience. Following their third album, 1996's A Happy Pocket, the group was dropped by label Go! Discs, meaning they had to sell their Shabby Road studios (bought with the initial advance for Cake) and declare bankruptcy.