Frank Reader’s soft vocals coupled with dreamy melodies and pop riffs can be heard on Trashcan Sinatras’ sixth album, In the Music, released April 27th. The album is a mixture of pop melodies and more grounded, pensive pieces, containing eight bonus tracks that were recorded on the Scottish band’s November UK tour, in addition to ten in-studio recordings. The group started recording in New York City, but later moved to Martha’s Vineyard in a studio setup by producer Andy Chase – member of the bands Ivy and Brookville. In The Music was distributed to all major music retailers by Fontana Distribution and made accessible for digital downloading sites through INgroove.
Twenty years into the business and five years since releasing an album, the Sinatras’ influence from The Smith’s is noticeable in their lead single “People,” the first song on the album. With synthesizers and Stevie Mulhearn on the keyboard, Reader’s measured pitch and seemingly lazy jaw produce vocals that mirror those of The Smith’s lead singer, Morrissey. Another immediately prominent track is “I Wish You’d Meet Her,” a wistful number described by ALT Sounds as having “gently rolling guitars and honeyed melodies knit together.”
The surprising addition of Carly Simon’s back-up vocals in the song “Should I Pray?” verges on corny, though is saved by the song’s authentic and reflective lyrics contemplating the validity of prayer (“Is it safe? Put my faith in rewards somewhere a lifetime away?”) The seemingly random pairing of the pop singer-songwriter who rose to pop-fame in the 70’s (though is still actively recording music) and the Sinatras on this number was sparked by Simon, the neighbor of Chase. After hearing the initial mix she wanted in, adding her vocals at the Martha’s Vineyard recording sessions.
Another notable track is “Oranges and Apples,” a homage to the late Syd Barrett – though speculated to have schizophrenia and an array of other psychological disorders, he was the creative genius behind the success of Pink Floyd. The title of this number is taken from “Apples and Oranges,” the last single Barrett wrote. The somewhat elegiac number mirrors the Sinatras admiration for the musician, ending the song with “And all the things that you went through/and now everything is enhanced by you/ […] All made for you.”
The eight bonus tracks almost sounds studio recorded, save cheers from the audience and the slightly more organic sound from Reader on the song “Earlies,” originally off their album Fez. These eight songs are generally more subdued than the first ten, and dragged down by the overly simplistic and annoyingly repetitive song “Hayfever.” Despite this weaker tune, the jaunty guitars and passionate vocals in “Easy Read,” “The Safecracker,” and “Send For Henry,” compliment the more muted nature of these bonus tracks. Frank Readers vocal projection and John Douglas’s and Paul Livingston’s acoustic pop-riffs matched with a tambourine in the background, makes “Weightlifted” the strongest live performance on the album.
About recording In The Music, Livingston (lead guitarist) insists that it was “the most fun and easiest experience [they]’ve had as a band and [he] think[s] that definitely comes across when you hear it.” There is no doubt that the Sinatras are not only having a good time playing their music, but are invested in expressing their optimistic ideals and are engaged in their performance. The jangling guitars and earnest lyrics succeed in making this album something that guitarist John Douglas hopes will “make hips sway, toes tap, heads nod, and hearts open.”