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LISTEN TO THIS REVIEW
Death of a Friend EP - Trapdoor Social
Buy Death of a Friend EP

RELEASE INFO

LABEL: Self-released
RELEASE DATE: 011.2012
FORMATS:

Band Members

Merritt Graves: Vocals
Skylar Funk: Vocals, Guitars, and Keyboards

BIOGRAPHY

Trapdoor Social is Merritt Graves and Skylar Funk, and they’re here to save the world. Merritt and Skylar met at the Environmental Analysis program at Pomona College in Southern California. By day they studied the challenges for planet Earth, and by night they found refuge in their music. “Unfortunately, Climate Change has become a large source to draw from musically,” says Merritt. “We try to take our anxiety over it and transfer it into a sonic medium.”

“But we do it in different ways,” adds Skylar. “Merritt channels his frustration when he writes, while I draw a lot more from empathy. I think it would be pretty boring if we weren’t so different of people.” What results is a driving, emotive alt-pop experience.

While hustling and promoting their work in the busy Los Angeles music scene, Trapdoor Social walks its talk, with continued involvement with green companies Farmscape and Agrisaurus, which Merritt helped create, and the development of an awareness campaign around solar and other renewable energy. “No issue is too big to try to take on,” says Skylar. “We should all do what we can.”

The duo made its official debut with the six song “Death Of A Friend” EP, released in December 2012. It was produced by Curt Schneider, and features Death Cab For Cutie’s Jason McGerr on drums.

PRESS QUOTES

“Trapdoor Social is an amazing group that is bringing something refreshing to the music industry.” - Isaac Davis Jr., Junior’s Cave

“About two-thirds of the way into “Away”, the heavy guitar break and the following complex vocals hit me by surprise, and helped show me what this very commercial band is capable of.” - Bruce Rave contributing to Blah Blah Blah Science

“Their constantly evolving visual style is compelling and entertaining.” - Lian Amaris, Songbird.me

“Has great layers of vocals . . . If you like the sound of bands like Foster the People, Muse, or Coldplay then give these guys a listen.” - Michael Finney, Speakercone.net

"Trapdoor Social is an anomaly and a band that must have traveled from a time when these kind of rock bands were once great and vans warped tour still felt underground. You won’t find bands like this anymore. They have raging energy and catchy hooks packed in to their songs which are sealed tight with stellar musicianship." - Awaken Cafe

Review

8th January, 2013. Zachary Houle for Pop Matters

Ratings: 6/10

Funeral for a Friend

Los Angeles-based duo Merritt Graves and Skylar Funk sure have the “social” part of their name down pat: on their debut EP, they managed to bring in Death Cab for Cutie’s Jason McGerr to play on drums. That’s a pretty commendable name to bring into what is essentially a vanity release, but the members of Trapdoor Social more or less prove their mettle by writing big, soaring and anthemic songs that recall Coldplay. Opening track “Away” even features some infectious whistling. While the band certainly sounds a bit more British than Californian, the Death of a Friend EP features six songs that are cut from the same cloth, but are appealing in a rather poppy way, even though the band is hardly nailing a stake in the ground when it comes to all out originality.

Where the Death of a Friend EP falls a bit flat is in its choice of sequencing: the EP starts to really get going, and then it all ends on a dime, leaving the listener holding the bag. Perhaps the band was under-reaching, and this might have worked better with a few more songs attached and the ability to be called a proper album. And, certainly, while the group has a sound that could be described as well as being Chumbawamba-meets-Hoobastank, which is certainly beguiling and charming to a certain degree, the band seems to work solely in one mode: fist in the air rockers. Perhaps a bit more sonic diversity would do this band some favours. Still, Death of a Friend is not a bad start for a group that is involved in climate change and environmental concerns by day. When they’re not out saving the world, Trapdoor Social does a reasonably well job of kicking out the jams and rocking out.





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