Even when continuing to push prog in all its chameleonic personalities - since 2010's industrial revolution-referencing, red brick dust-breathing self-titled debut LP - Salford four-piece Trojan Horse have always shaded it with a firm sense of social awareness and a need to highlight the plight of the common man. Nowhere yet have they managed to sum it up quite so concisely as on their beguilingly brilliant new single, 'Paper Bells,' out on the band's own Listen To These Records, on February 3rd 2014.
A wake up call to those sleep-walking through the 21stcentury, a clarion cry to those claustrophobic with disillusionment, 'Paper Bells' begins with an almost Wyatt-esque heartfelt lament from Trojan Horse's front man, Nick Duke, before rapidly changing gear and repeatedly punching home a colossal, infectious guitar hook that wraps itself around the vocal and thunders with a rumble that could've come from the incessant clouds that line the Manchester skies.
"We can source news directly from the people actually experiencing it so easily these days, without having to go through 'traditional' channels, and so we're starting to see the cracks in the party lines," Duke explains of the song's themes. "It's about that type of personal revolution and marrying that with historical social revolutionary context. In reality very little has changed since the 1800's for the common person. We have nicer things to distract us, but the majority remain under-represented and dissatisfied." To that end, the title 'Paper Bells' acts as a metaphor for a working class, voiceless only because, in bassist/vocalist Lawrence Duke's words, "they are influenced and devalued by capitalism and don't appreciate or understand the extent of their power."
Since forming in 2007, Trojan Horse - made up of brothers Nick, Lawrence and Eden Duke, plus drummer Guy Crawford - have steadfastly fought their way against powder puff trends and fads drifting through the music industry, to stand tall as one of the most respected prog (a term they widely encourage) bands in Britain. Picking up plaudits from Drowned In Sound, The Fly and Gold Flake Paints among many others, the group joined fellow sonic explorers Knifeworld and The Fierce & The Dead on the Classic Prog Magazine-sponsored Stabbing A Dead Horse tour to rave reviews in 2012, as well as following up their critically-acclaimed debut LP with the EP Fire; the group were also nominated for Best Newcomers at 2012's Prog Awards.
"Things have changed a lot recently," reflects Nick. "Working full-time has been a big influence on us, while Lozz has become a father. All it's done, though, is increase our desire to put out music that really means something, because the time we have to do what we love is really limited." From the evidence of 'Papers Bells,' working against the constricting boundaries of everyday life has only brought out the best in Trojan Horse; expect them to burst their shackles wide open in 2014.