This already feels like the riskiest inclusion on this list so far. Trophy Scars don’t exactly have the clout of a band like Titus Andronicus or The Dillinger Escape Plan, yet here they are, nestled snug on my cement-as-fuck decade enshrinement. But let me ease any concerns: they deserve to be here. OK, feel better?
First of all, Holy Vacants is a nearly perfect album so I brought up the tracks in a playlist, put a blindfold on,and punched my keyboard to see which song would end up earning this honor. Well, not quite, but it could have been that easy! The real reason is that no song rocks nearly as hard as “Qeres” – sure, “Everything Disappearing” is a haunting penultimate track (for all intents and purposes it’s the real closer), and “Crystallophobia” is about the catchiest goddamn thing since the plague, but I think I’m talking myself out of the point I was trying to make so I’m going to stop. “Qeres” dominates Holy Vacants before the clock even hits 00:01 – I kid you not, hit play and look at the timestamp. Electric guitars are rollicking from the get-go; the song starts this high but then the drums kick in, along with that magnificent vocal duet, and it has already raised the stakes on itself like twenty measly seconds into the song. And none of that even counts the best part – a dichotomous chorus which thrusts Jerry Jones’ comically gruff voice alongside those harmonious, angelic backdrops – each word highlighted by emphatic drum beats. There’s a minute-long guitar solo that absolutely slays for the better part of the track’s midsection, and then they outdo themselves a fourth time (fifth? I lost count) with the introduction of brass horns…(takes breath for oxygen)….and basically any ridiculously epic thing that you can think of, well, it happens on “Qeres”. If it doesn’t, I promise you it occurs sometime later on the album.
Trophy Scars have always been a ridiculous band for a wide array of reasons, ranging from insane concepts (Holy Vacants is about a couple who stalk and cannibalize angels after Hitler’s demise in World War II, thus keeping them young and in love forever) to the simple fact that Jones’ singing is, umm, an acquired taste. But the bottom line is that all the different dimensions of weirdness add up to something spectacular and utterly unique, and “Qeres” represents Trophy Scars’ peak ambition.