Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Trust: "Joyland" (album review)

I'm going to admit that I spent very little time with Trust's Juno Award-nominated debut TRST.  That's because, quite frankly, the cover art crept the shit out of me.

On March 4th Trust, AKA Toronto's Robert Alfons, will release his sophomore full length, Joyland.

Let there be no doubt: this is synthesizer music.  So if that's not your bag, then you'll want to give Joyland a wide berth.

Alfons strikes a wonderful balance on "Geryon".  With that number he manages to create an aggressive-sounding song that never crosses the line into harsh.  The title cut is a modern electronic song with a healthy heaping of bright '80s synth-pop (think Passion Pit plays Duran Duran), "Lost Souls/Eeling" has a similar feel.  On "Icabod" he's made an ominous track that refuses to descend into the mucky depths that you'd get from a stereotypical "Goth" song.

Some of the material is pure filler.  The album opener "Slightly Floating" is a spacey amorphous electronic time-waster that offers little of interest and does nothing to set the atmosphere for the remainder of the record.  "Only You" evokes thoughts of Yazoo's "Only You", which is never a good thing.  There are moments on "Four Gut", that you expect Alfons to break into a Murray Head-esque spoken word interlude.

Somewhere in between is "Capitol".  The track has a strong underlying melody, but it's stutter-start with an inconsistent pace, which makes then end product difficult to endure at times.

There are as many strikeouts as hits on Joyland, but regardless Alfons must be given marks for his daring.  He mashes together sounds and influences that are bold.  This won't, however, turn anyone into an electronic music fan who isn't already predisposed.

Trust plays Adelaide Hall in Toronto on March 8th.

Best tracks: "Icabod", "Joyland"

Track listing for Joyland:
  • Slightly Floating
  • Geryon
  • Capitol
  • Joyland
  • Are We Arc?
  • Icabod
  • Four Gut
  • Rescue, Mister
  • Lost Souls/Eeling
  • Peer Pressure
  • Barely

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