The LP comes complete with some impressive collaborations.
On California Way, the third album from Melbourne bedroom-pop purveyors Tram Cops, Michael Vince Moin sounds wide-eyed and energised for the first time in a while. While his previous releases have been marked by a sort of introspective melancholy, California Way instantly feels sunnier.
Opening with the gleaming title track, the result of working with Gab Strum of Japanese Wallpaper and Simon Lam of Kllo is immediately noticeable. While the track is still anchored by Moin’s signature lo-fi warbles and idiosyncratic charm, his soundscapes are now backed by jittering beats and bubbling synthesisers.
This new collaboration has left a profound effect on the Tram Cops sound. Where previous releases, 2018’s even in my dreams and not forever, felt like a peek into Moin’s intricately crafted universe, California Way expands outwards; emerging like the sun to immerse us in its light.
As the album continues on, this shift in atmosphere is hard to miss. ‘The Door’ opens with an understated ebb that hints at something more sombre, but Moin’s melodies are fluid and warming, while ‘Love is All Around’ and ‘Happy as Can Be’ heighten the mood with their buoyant grooves and effortless hooks.
Even on the more elusive moments, like the surreal ‘K Song’ or the sprawling ‘Love is Real’, we’re lulled into a haze that largely feels euphoric.
It’s these moments where California Way succeeds most – its ability to perfectly balance its compelling emotion with Moin’s mesmerising pop smarts means the entire listen never fails to feel transcendent.
Tram Cops launch California Way at The Curtin on Friday November 1. Grab your tickets here.