TRASHCAN DARLINGS – Tunes From The Trashcan


StrangeDolls Records
Release Date: April 1, 2004

User Review
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Trashcan Darlings are a unique band formed in 1995 from Norway whose style can best be described as Punk Metal. Their sound has all of the quirky genius of The Ramones, all of the festive fun of early Cheap Trick, an alternative tendency in line with The Psychedelic Furs, and a twang or two of Buddy Holly. Take all of this and wrap it up into a modern Green Day feel, and you have the 17:36 minutes of music the band entitles Tunes From The Trashcan.

This EP consists of 4 songs: “Peggy-Sue Is Dead,” “I Won’t Pay The Price,” “(Never Enough) You’re Too Much,” and “Electric Vampires.” Each track has a distinctive feel, but the common approach apparent within each song is festive, refreshingly offbeat fun. It all starts with the guitar sound provided by Chris Damien Doll and Frankie Nachtnebel. Their playing style is non-complex, power chord driven, and bubbles with energy. They play basic rock ‘n’ roll in the ilk of Buddy Holly and couple it with Rick Nielsen precision (Cheap Trick), yet succeed in maintaining the simplistic song patterns of Johnny Ramone. Strange? Gentle’s vocal delivery has almost a Rocky Horror Picture Show feel to it, and the lyrics hint towards the bizarre, but not overtly so to be nonsensical or to lose the band’s roots in this derivative of Metal music. The percussion work by Skinny Shotgun is crisp and tight and adds a garage band style feel to Trashcan Darling’s sound, while DanDee’s bass play adds an alternative, punk if you will, flavor to round out the band’s unique clamor.

The opening track, “Peggy-Sue Is Dead,” has the protagonist of the song lamenting in the fact that this Buddy Holly character has died, though it’s tough to determine if her death is literal or figurative … either way, most of his regret stems from the realization that he’ll now never get to meet Peggy-Sue. Amid all of this off-kilter sadness is a quick tempo rhythm that comes across musically in an upbeat fashion, similar to the pop classic “Dream Police” by Cheap Trick. In the end, this is a great opening tune for this EP, and probably the best overall song.

Next up, “I Won’t Pay The Price” starts out with the identical vocal meter as does “Ghost In You” by The Psychedelic Furs, and has a similar choppy guitar chord pattern along the lines of “Getting Better” by The Beatles, with a Buddy Holly twang sliced in every so often, accompanied by customary distortion we’ve all grown to love so dearly as Metal fans. Hugo Alvarstein makes a guest appearance to tickle the ivories in true Jerry Lee Lewis fashion – a nice added touch. DanDee’s bass play also shines. Topically, the song deals with a gent disenchanted by life who is wondering why life sucks in general. Throughout his contemplation of what is going to turn up along the way to improve his plight, a glimmer of hope comes from brief glimpses of a glowingly beautiful girl who seems to cross his path on a semi-regular basis … another winning composition.

“(Never Enough) You’re Too Much” starts out with a hilarious spoken segment by a happy-go-lucky egomaniac with a personality cross between Austin Powers and Nigel Tufnel from Spinal Tap. This character wants stardom, but others around him realize his narcissistic passion to be an ever-growing celebrity will eventually cloud any success actually ever attained … as a result, enough will be never enough, so to speak. Musically, this song has the most Ramones influences of the four and is the third straight success.

Last is “Electric Vampires,” which has its parallels entrenched in the movie The Lost Boys, where the head vampire seductively lures in others to become assistant vampires by enticing them to take an initial drink of blood. In this song, the enticed is a female who is being courted to follow a similar course and to live eternally in death. Musically, and obviously topically, this song is very different from the other three. The first three tracks are more aggressive by nature and high energy, but this last track is more atmospheric and a bit “spooky,” if you will. It’s another good one, but stylistically, it’s completely different.

In sum, if you like The Ramones, or just like something a bit bizarre and different with a heavy edge, you’re bound to enjoy this Trashcan Darlings EP. The band clearly borrows a lot of their ideas, but they add more than sufficient energy and quirky twists to each song to make them thoroughly enjoyable and, dare I say, original! The songs all have a good beat that make them conducive to dance to, and therefore Tunes From The Trashcan would be a particularly good addition to a “party sampler” compilation to spin when you invite over mixed company guests.

Guitars: B-
Bass: B+
Percussion: B-
Vocals: B-
Lyrics: B-
Recording Quality: B-
Originality: B+
Overall Rating: B+


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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