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Trust | Joyland | Album Review - Live And Die In Music

Trust is the brainchild of both Robert Alfons and Maya Postepski. As of now it’s down to Alfons to steer the ship with Postepski focusing on her own project Austria. The new LP Joyland ultimately sees a continuation on  from the self-titled LP back in 2012. Alfons creates a synthetic soundcape full of ticking drums, sub bass and melodic leads that linger. This comes as a crutch though when Alfons fails to break from the mould or develop on this solid foundation. There are moments here and there that really shine, most notably the opener and closer respectively. Ultimately, though it doesn’t feel like the album has progressed all that much when it reaches its final destination.

Slightly Floating” immediately immerses you with a sub bass that bubbles beneath the surface and arpeggiated synths that hover over .It is probably the best track on the record in terms of instrumentation. Interestingly enough, it is the only track that doesn’t include drums, but the bass takes up the reins with a solid pulse throughout. All this is topped off with a an airy lead, which compliments the vocal. “Geryon” the second track is a complete change of pace. Unfortunately, it feels like a failed attempt at a Ramstein track with its hard hitting electronic drums and deep vocals. The main problem is  that the synths feel weak and over modulated, which makes them more irritating than interesting.

Capitol” on the other hand has a great mix of piano and keys which leaves room for more emotional weight in the track. Alfons vocals start off low and eerie as before, but when the chorus hits he kicks it up a notch as he expands his range. The song breaks down with pads that gradually build to a final chorus that encompass every little element that makes the song great.  There are elements of the Human League and or Depeche Mode  here but his distinctive singing style and his moody soundworld make it stand apart. 

Are we Arc? ” Begins slowly and really captures Trust’s moody and somber electronic collage. The vocal suits the track with  his macabre style starting off the track, before developing into a delicate falsetto as the song opens out. “Icabod” an up tempo track, is full of what you expect from Trust,  a melodic bass line that drives the song with drums that anchor the track. Again, it is the small touches that really make this track what it is, such as the soothing lead that brings the track to a close.

The second half of the album takes a much darker turn with some of the tracks having a much more gritty and edgy dynamic. “Four Gut” epitomizes this approach with its abrasive synth sounds which hold the track together. The pre-chorus has a real catchy air with a repeated line “ Get me with the Four Gut, Line them up”, which flows effortlessly into the chorus. “Rescue, Mister” is another track with darker tones and harsh synths  that echo throughout the chorus. This time the chorus is pared back, making way for a more restrained vocal. 

The album closer “Barely” is the albums most sincere moment with Alfons giving a vocal that is stripped of reverb and effects. Alfons shows a side of himself that is rarely explored on The LP. A side where his voice isn’t just an instrument that blends into the background. Alfons unique timbre is front and center with the music this time creating the backdrop. This track musically, gives you a sense of what lies at the root of Trust’s music. Behind all the glistening synths and sub bass lies a melodic core that is undeniable. The song eventually dissolves,  leaving a pad that stretches across the musical tapestry, as Alfons vocal rises above the noise. It is a fitting end to the LP giving a glimpse of what lies behind the bed of synths and sounds.

For fans of synthpop and all its offspring’s this album is a must, and for those who like the darker side of electronica it has got you covered. The problem is though is that it doesn’t stray often enough from this sound. There is a lack of variety on the record that is only lessened by some tracks that have a much sharper edge. What makes Trust sound like It does is its enriched soundworld, but there are only a handful of  moments that look beyond this. If feels like a missed opportunity that these different avenues weren’t explored more. The likes of “Are we Arc?” have a softer touch and “Barely” reveals to us what is really behind the curtain . Overall, The album definitely does grow with repeat listening making the journey into the world of Trust that more enjoyable. Although, its familiarity leaves it best digested in short bursts.