For their latest release, Philadelphia's Trolleyvox has cranked out two discs worth of music. Although they are packaged together, they are intended as two separate albums rather than one long, continuous work. "Your Secret Safe" is an album of upbeat electric songs and "Luzerne" is a more introspective acoustic record. Both albums show that the band is able to craft some strong pop music, but ultimately, the acoustic half wins out.
"Your Secret Safe," the electric disc, echoes heavily of the jangly pop of the early nineties. In particular, the song "Jean Jacket," in both title and style, seems heavily reminiscent of that time. The song is full of REM style guitars and quirky lyrics, sung in a quiet, breathy voice. Possibly the best of the electric tracks is the epic closer, "Cricket in Euphoria." This song nicely combines dual male and female lead vocals, lots of echoed guitar, and a swimming, psychedelic sound into a nice pop tune.
The acoustic disc, "Luzerne," is certainly the stronger of the two. As one might expect, there is a much mellower, low-key vibe to it than "Your Secret Safe." It almost seems as if the band's sound becomes more contemporary here, having to rely on simpler structures and sounds. Particularly nice are the instrumentals that are sprinkled throughout the album's twelve tracks. The back-to-back instrumentals "Cold Snap" and "Mermaid Loop" are especially good, with their solid guitar riffs and melancholy feeling.
Ultimately, both albums are not bad, but the acoustic contribution wins out. The Trolleyvox do have very good pop sense, but their electric sound just seems a bit too dated. While there are some fun moments sprinkled throughout "Your Secret Safe," clearly "Luzerne" is definitely the better album. 6/10 -- Matt Blackall (15 January, 2008)