John Floreani – sin
Released: June 7th, 2019
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Previously Little Brother, now just John Floreani. Trophy Eyes’ frontman is about to release his debut solo album titled sin, and oh boy, it’ll kick you right where it hurts.
Trophy Eyes’ songs have always had a realness to them. A personal and emotional drive behind them that gives the songs so much relatability, and with John’s solo project it’s no different. In fact, it’s probably intensified. With sin, it feels like something John Floreani has done just for himself. It feels very personal; like we’re given a glimpse into a different part of himself that doesn’t fit into the Trophy Eyes’ mould. Oh, and it’s good. You could get lost in this. The most immediate realisation here is the development of John’s vocals. Take a look back at the earlier albums of Trophy Eyes, even his debut solo EP (under his then name Little Brother), and clean vocals weren’t his strong suit. It’s only with The American Dream that we see John experiment through TE with less rough vocals and more clean singing. He’s polished off his vocal folds and sin just came out.
‘Oh Brother’ is the first track and the vocals absolutely shine. We’ve got a soft backing of simple acoustics and a bit of piano, but the voice and lyrics are really the stars here. On the track he shares, “My brother has always been a troubled person. His fight to be a better version of himself has been a long and painful losing battle that hurts everybody involved. I’ve been kind to him over the years – I was really the only person that loved and cared for him unconditionally. Recently, after a falling out, I decided not to be that person anymore.” From the get-go, it’s clear this is an emotionally open album.
We pick it up a bit with ‘Don’t Wait Up’. And it has more of a pop feel with a singalong chorus and some wonderful church bells punctuating the melody here and there. But we really need to talk about the first single he released off this album, ‘Echoes’. It has an absolutely beautiful melody that John’s vocals compliment so well. He lends a bit of grit to the swelling and uplifting chorus at just the right times, and let’s just say it now: this will be a song to be remembered live.
‘I could do this shit all day!’ is the first thing you hear from John on ‘Cocaine’ as he brings us up with a shout from the daze of ‘Echoes’. And would it really a John Floreani album without a drug reference? Anyway, it leads into ‘Ugly Love’ which is again a bit more upbeat but with a chorus just as repetitive as ‘Cocaine’. We take a dive back down into the emotional depths of John’s psyche with ‘Before The Devil Knows I’m Dead’ which has lovely, haunting lyrics. It’s a pleading song elevated by female harmonies, and probably one of the best tracks on the album alongside ‘Echoes’. ‘Repent’ is a folky song with country elements that John somehow makes work, but it doesn’t quite fit in among the other tracks.
And coming to a close is ‘I Don’t Want To Be Here Either.’ We’ve come full circle here, ending how it started – melodic, beautiful and emotional. It’s what we came for and John Floreani delivered. This album is so incredibly different to anything John has done with Trophy Eyes, and it’s an eye opener to the kind of artist he truly is. Trophy Eyes is on an upwards trajectory on their path of punk, and I think that John Floreani’s solo project is the little brother to that band; the mellow, introspective side that you didn’t realise was needed until now.
There are a few songs that maybe missed the mark by a fraction, but simply put, this album is beautiful.
John Floreani – sin tracklisting
1. Oh Brother
2. Don’t Wait Up
5. Ugly Love
6. Before The Devil Knows I’m Dead
8. I Don’t Want To Be Here Either