Premiere: TRAM COPS – ‘LA’

Words: James Frostick

Michael Vince Moin’s malleable bedroom jazz-psych pop project Tram Cops is on the cusp of releasing Not Forever – an earnest and engrossing record of unique and affecting tracks about life, love, happiness, sadness and death. ‘LA’ is the record’s second single, a sparsely ornamented tune that is grogged-out and woozy on love, smitten with the kind of emotions that soothe the soul in one moment and quickens the pulse in another.

I came across Tram Cops for the first time earlier this year when I happened to stumble across the band’s Souncloud – a treasure trove of off-beat pop-jazz jams that evidenced a heart-on-sleeve tenderness that pivoted from downcast to irreverent each song. I was hooked pretty quickly, seduced by Michael Vince Moin’s ability to blend life’s mundane and essential qualities humbly and creatively. Eventually I discovered that a bunch of the Soundcloud tracks featured on even in my dreams, a full-length collection of songs released in January. In early November Tram Cops will follow up the release with Not Forever, a record penned as a response to a down period in Michael’s life. Lead single ‘this is it’ was noticeably sad and downcast, but follow up track ‘LA’ is a shade more positive, if not certainly more engrossing.

The song itself slinks into view with a slow-moving sway, offering up a stylish pastiche of lounge jazz, doo-wop and pop, glued together with viscous psychedelic glue. It’s unhurried and leisurely, comfortable to start as Michael’s falsetto croon paints pictures of loved-up allegories. The guitar licks and lonely saxophone peals exude phosphorescence when they shimmer across the near lullaby of the backing track, and I’m almost content to let it flow over me before the pace quickens and the song begins to sparkle more noticeably a minute in. Everything is heightened for a moment while narcotic-level energy saturates the mix, but eventually this peak calms and settles once more into its sublimely muted swing.

‘LA’ offers that cosy and comforted warmth that comes with earnest and newfound affection – that moment where the mere thought of a person or place colours and softens your worldview. From what I gather, Not Forever is a collection of ruminations on life penned by someone who has experienced profound bouts of loneliness. ‘LA’ is that track where Michael dabbles in accepting tender emotions when they bubble to the surface, nurturing the soft glow and buzzing excitement at the possibilities ahead. We live for the possibilities and the potential outcomes – the unknown results that also makes life and love so frightening. At the song’s speedier segment, Michael makes his biggest breakthrough – “I don’t want to die” – a lynchpin realisation that shows the songwriter at a key turning point. Here Tram Cops embraces a vulnerability allows us to share in a tender moment, and damn if I don’t feel a little bit of the love when I hit play each time.

Not Forever will be released to the world on Friday November 9. Get your pre-orders in now.

BANDCAMP / SOUNDCLOUD