It’s lonely out in the sticks. Singer Brian Youmans and bassist Tommy Salmon of the rock quintet Trinket know all too well.
Most of the songs on the group’s RCA self-titled debut album, released Feb. 9, were written while Youmans and Salmon rented a house in Watkinsville, a small, nondescript town outside their base in Athens, Ga.
“It was out in the middle of nowhere,” Salmon said recently. “You couldn’t get cable there, you have to get a satellite dish, and we couldn’t afford that, so we just listened to our favorite records and it wasn’t a matter of ‘What’s happening now?’ I mean, where we were living, nothing was happening. We had to make it happen.”
“Me and Tom were talking about this the other day,” Youmans said. “It seems like, to a certain degree, we gave a lot of ourselves on this record, and it was a matter of me and Tom out in Watkinsville dreaming up what fame and all that had to do with our lives or our take on it. It seems to be a recurring theme.”
One of the album’s highlights, “To Be a Star,” addresses the dream with a cynical view.
“I was hearing a lot at the time that Eddie Vedder was pushing that away, how he was going through this thing where he didn’t want that type of fame and notoriety, people going into his personal life,” Youmans said. “At the time, I was a fan of Pearl Jam and I was thinking, ‘What’s the big problem? How bad can it be?’ ”
Trinket may not get to walk a mile in Vedder’s shoes, but it’s not for a lack of trying. Youmans, Salmon and guitarists J. Christopher Arrison and Jeffrey Fisher and drummer Derry De Lamar have fashioned a lean, hungry rock edge, surging on such tracks as “Unbehaved” (the first single), “Pure” and “All the Rave.”
“We wanted a good guitar record,” Salmon said, “and we have two excellent guitarists in our band. To hear them both going off like that is great. It’s a rock album made by rock fans for rock fans, and it does seem the attention we’re getting right off the bat and in clubs tend to be people who really like rock ‘n’ roll and are very serious about it, who have a knowledge of bands that will go back 30 years, that will go overseas. They’re genuinely passionate about rock music, and I think they appreciate what we’re doing.”
The album is a departure from group’s more poppy independent debut, “Your Head Is a Shimmer,” which was produced by R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe. That’s just the way they like it.
“I think it’s going to be one of those albums,” Salmon said, “where people are going to have to be aggressive about, where fans are going to have to say, ‘This is my rock band.’ With the lyrics we’ve done, with the music and the work we’ve put into it, I’d like to have people expect what we do out of other rock bands, like raise the bar. ‘How come I’m not getting this level of intensity from other bands?’ ”
“We’re obviously ambitious about our chances,” Youmans said, “but in my mind, it’s one step at a time. This college tour we’re on (with Babe the Blue Ox and the Interpreters) and we’re getting added to a lot of college radio, I’m feeling really good about that. There’s certain stepping stones, and once we get to a certain point, I can probably predict a little better how we’re going to do. For us, we feel we help fill a gap in rock music right now that isn’t out there.”
BWF (before we forget): Trinket is more than ornamental on the Web @ www.trinketrock.com.