No Second Troy
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No Second Troy

Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., United States | SELF

Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., United States | SELF
Band Rock Pop


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"Don't worry record execs, there are plenty of talented unsigned artists left on the DC scene. No Second Troy [is] just [one] of the DC bands looking to break out."
October 27, 2006,

There's something very charming about the melancholy that permeates No Second Troy's latest release, "Colors." The D.C.-based quintet effortlessly conveys the ennui of early adulthood without sounding mopey or solipsistic. These songs are, at their core, sweet pop-rock tunes; they're just infused with a sense of realism and truth.

"Colors" features many songs about relationships, but the group still finds something new to say on the subject. The album standout is the thoughtful "Leap of Faith," in which lead singer Jeff Wharen's vulnerability sounds as if he's both pleading with someone specific and wondering whether that special someone will ever appear. Elsewhere, the group ponders first-time fatherhood with the fragile, lo-fi "Golden Age" and tackles the imperfection of relationships in the catchy, up-tempo "The Black and White Movie."

With so many evocative, relatable songs, it's unfortunate that the group included several interludes that disrupt the album's flow. "Colors" begins with a short instrumental piece, closes with a goofy keyboard jam and includes random conversations and comments among band members. Although these quirky insights into the musicians' personalities are unusual, the moments add an amateur feel to an otherwise compelling and vivid collection.

- Catherine Lewis

The indie-electro pop sound can be found on No Second Troy’s latest album, Colors. If any album can pull it off, this has got to be the one. The bounce beat of the drum, trendy musical twists and Jeff Wharen’s wicked rock vocals give this album an edge so cool you don’t need to don a studded leather jacket and shades to rock to this.The album, comprised of 12 tracks, is a blend of multiple music styles – emotionally attached on one track, armored and beautifully scattered on the next.

The album really consists of nine songs total. It has a couple of instrumental shorts and one talking-that-ends-with-a-whaaaa! song, all that run for less than a minute.

The album starts to get kind of addictive the more you listen to the head-bopping, melodic numbers. The songs are nicely arranged; it starts off fast-paced, winds down to take a breather with an acoustic and then picks up again at the right place.

No Second Troy’s songs are like crayons in a box, you can pick at random and you can’t go wrong. Any color you pick delivers a strong, vibrant shade of artistic richness.

If you’re into Kings of Leon, the Fray or Young Love, then this is a must-have album. Go ahead, give this five-man band from Washington, D.C., a listen.

Grade: A - Christine Hernandez

In his band's bio, No Second Troy keyboardist Mike Beach talks about trying to navigate the middle ground between today’s pop and indie music, and in doing so makes a reference to pre- and post-"Clocks"-era Coldplay.

Beach's Washington, D.C.-based band really has a lot more in common with The Shins and Rogue Wave in terms of pop sensibilities, attention to detail and good indie instincts – in other words, having the nerve and the smarts to throw in just the right amount of twists and turns to keep things interesting and a little different. Colors (out now) has plenty of crafty gems, with "The Black and White Movie" and "This Is the End of Me" far and away the best of the album's 12 tracks.

The aspect of music being entirely subjective has always bewildered me. On one side, you have people arguing that music cannot be judged as being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ because who’s to say what qualifies something to be worse than the other? And on the other side, you have people arguing that music can be directly broken up and dissected and that yes, you can significantly say that a band like Wolf Parade is better than Creed. I’ve always followed the thinking that music can be objective but even after over-analyzing it to death, I can start to see what the other side believes.

A band like No Second Troy firmly falls in between the lines where music can be subjectively enjoyed, as well as being objectively solid. For every new lyric on a broken relationship, there is a solid chorus that is built on sturdy melodies and chords, and in between, there is a charm and endearment that transcends their music. Their newest album, Colors, challenges the black and white thinking of objectivists, like yours truly, into pushing outside of their boundaries and hopefully, recognizing that music is a purely subjective art.

The album’s strategy can be simply detailed: everything, including the music, is made up of colors that attempting to deem something as right/wrong, bad/good, or even, black/white will never amount to anything because of all the grays involved. But upon further listening, one can easily notice that while topical in many forms, it’s a debate that has been raging for years. And through the album’s music, everything is brought forth by musicians that are all comfortable in their own skin, aware of their abilities as band mates. These assets provide an album that is not only aware of its challenging themes but at the same time, filled with an abundant amount of great music.

Jeff Wharen’s vocals recall the earlier decade’s alternative crooners with lyrics that cover the love we all hope to find and the love we all lose at one point in our lives. On “Surfacing” Wharen’s words are admirably convincing as he calls for his love to “come take my hand.” With his band softly layering guitars and keyboard lines, they come together for a fitting climax into Wharen’s final declaration. And “Wake Up” is certainly one of the better cuts with a piano line that hovers above the composition – quietly in the background – before being brought back out towards the end.

And the message is always clear, as it’s positioned on the aptly titled, “Grounded.” Staying close to the ground and never becoming presumptuous or worse, self-righteous, is hard for many people to do but with a Crowded House influence, No Second Troy comes together for a terrific album starter. Prefacing the surface with a steady amount of rock that flashes with angular guitars and pounding drums, everything is always moving forward. Although Colors definitely brings up a debate regarding musical judgments, it’s also a nod to the album’s varying styles of rock. Each song carries its own fashion and style and even the album’s ending ode of Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag” all make for a pretty colorful album.

It all works out well for No Second Troy in being able to not only make music that will jump out to subjective people but also, objective people alike. Making honest music with solid hooks and melodies is always a great thing and one that many can agree on. And sure, I love some music about relationships too so call me a subjectivist if you’d like. There’ll always be good music like Colors to debunk any theory.

January 2009

No Second Troy is a DC act that has recently been picking up a ton of momentum - and for good reason. Their sprawling atmospheric-rock is highly listenable to fans of many genres. Their blending of diverse sounds (keys, thumping guitar/bass lines, synthesizers) adds to the impressive raspy and full-ranging voice of lead singer, Jeff Wharen. Wharen’s impressive vocals, alone, sometimes make the songs worth listening to; it’s that much more impressive then that Wharen has an excellent group of musicians surrounding him - Tom McCarthy, Mike Smirnoff (any relation to the drink?), Mike Beach, and John Woolf. Their debut album, Narcotic, came out in 2007, so they should be preparing a new album for our enjoyment soon. Watch out for some new work, and check to see if they’re playing in your area; I know they’ve played several times at The Black Cat and the 930 Club, among other DC venues.

Head over to their MySpace to listen to my favorite songs by No Second Troy: “The Gardens After Lockout,” which showcases a nice blend of mellow piano-tinged rock and a full chorus, as well as the beautiful and harmonically paced, “Into Your Sun.”

- Lee Levin --

Now here is some DIY Pop that will put you in the mood for summer. ‘Colors’ is a plea to stop seeing the world in black and white, cloaked in big, big melodies with a hint of Indie Rock guitars and perfect vocal harmonies.

For a band that culls much of its material from the whirlwind of emotions caused by relationships, the lads from Washington DC picked a relatively obscure but appropriate name. Lovelorn Irish writer William Butler Yeats scolded his love interest, revolutionary Maud Gonne, in 1916 for preferring Nationalist politics over a dalliance with the smitten poet in the poem ‘No Second Troy’. End of history lesson.

I’m glad to say that the band’s music is far less academic than their philosophies. For starters, slap on the classic REM rock of the title track ‘Colors’ and the pumped up energy of ‘Let It Go’. Now you’re ready for the unbridled anthemic power of ‘Wake Up’, ‘Surfacing’ and ‘Golden Age’. It’s guaranateed pure goosebump material and free of any intellectual stodginess.

Our two MP3s below cover the middle ground between No Second Troy’s rock and ballad sides. ‘Black & White Movie’ is a nice, loose groover and ‘This Is The End Of Me’ combines a straight Dance Rock beat with a big anthem chorus.

Keyboard player Mike Beach explains that ‘Colors’ is about seeing the nuances in our relationships. ‘Take the song ‘Black & White Movie’, for instance, it is an acknowledgment that we overanalyse our relation-ships and foolishly seek the perfection we see in Hollywood movies, thereby having our relationships fall into one of two categories - bliss or something inadequate, in other words, viewing the world as a black and white movie,’ comments Beach

Engineer Chad Clark previously worked with US Post Punk legends Fugazi. Chad brings an uncluttered, sparse style to the mix which lends No Second Troy’s poppy arrangements a sense of understatement. This is Indie Rock that will run for miles before sounding tired.

Beach compares No Second Troy to a pre-stadium success Coldplay, aiming for a sound that appeals to critics and a broad audience alike. Walking the tightrope between underground credibility and commercial cache is a potentially soul destroying task for any artist. No Second Troy are trying to keep sane by playing their cards close to their chests. The band self-releases its music and collectively determines the musical direction without having to heed outside advice.

Here’s a band that can set its own pace without sounding either too rushed or too stale. Like a prefectly matured peach, ‘Colors’ is ripe for the picking now.

"[Narcotic] is a MONSTER CD. The track 'the Gardens After Lockout' may be this year's best track. Yes, we're talking about that caliber in this band." Melodic.Net, review by Par Winberg, Editor-in-chief, (****1/2 stars)
- Par Winberg, Editor in Chief

Sharing a name with a William Butler Yeats poem, No Second Troy are not shy about their bookish origins, exhibiting a fine-tuned literary finesse on their bittersweet new single. "Into Your Sun" is an earnest, articulate love song with a touch of sentimental longing under which tender acoustic guitars and tinkering piano lay the groundwork. The song's video treatment, directed by Brent Green, presents flickering fragments interspersed with a handwritten narrative, beautifully complimenting the song's frailty with warm imagery. Like scenes out of an I-Spy book or snippets from pictures you might find browned and curling in the attic, the romantic wistfulness and youthful nostalgia of the clip serve to heighten the song's serene glow. Narcotic, No Second Troy's self-released full-length album, is out now. - Joseph Coscarelli

August/September 2007 -- Peaked at #175, #19 Most Added - Debuted at #187


Colors (LP)
April 2010

Live at the 9:30 Club (LP)
February 2009

Narcotic (LP)
May 2007

No Second Troy (EP)



Since forming in 2005, No Second Troy has carved a determined and inspiring path from obscurity to national recognition. Feature spots in movie trailers such as "Charlie St. Cloud" with Zac Efron, highlights on ESPN, XM Radio and appearances on MTV have all garnered mass appeal, while critical acclaim from SPIN Magazine and the CMJ Top 200 music chart boosted its indie support. It's perhaps because of this wide spread acknowledgement that the group has had the privilege of playing alongside bands like Coldplay, Everclear, Pete Yorn, the Robert Randolph Family Band, Dr. Dog and countless others at the prestigious SXSW and NXNE festivals.

No Second Troy enlists an undeniable self-awareness of their musical space between indie and pop. Employing a realistic perspective on the band, the music and the industry, Washington DC's No Second Troy teeters on the edge of indie rock with introspective anthems rich in explosive vocal melodies, driven by railing guitars, and balanced by subtle layers of piano and organ. The band makes no excuses in trying to blend the pop hooks of bands like Arcade Fire and Young the Giant with the unique indie-rock arrangements of acts like Death Cab for Cutie and Noah and the Whale.

The element of self-awareness could stem from the band's name itself. While many of the band's songs touch on relationships, past and present, No Second Troy originated as the title of a William Butler Yeats poem, in which the author struggles with unrequited love.