Coming off a summer stint opening for the freshly reunited Death From Above 1979, retro electro duo Trust have a lot going for them. They’re signed to one of Canada’s most successful indie labels, Arts & Crafts. And they’re bound to have inherited some of a built-in fanbase from member Maya Postepski’s association with Polaris Prize finalists Austra. Not a bad start, and the momentum only seems to be picking up with the band’s pseudo-eponymous debut LP TRST.
The vibe of the record is icy and nocturnal, but the music is also rich and propulsive. It affects detachment but brims with danceable beats and inventive melodies. There is a pop sensibility cruising alongside the core sound structure. While the album is very creative, it is also tonally monotonous. At more than 50 minutes long, it is hard to enjoy from front to back. “Shoom” and “Candy Walls” are the most repeatable tracks, with “Bulbform” and “Sulk” following close behind. The fine line between these songs and some of the other tracks on the album is the voice of Robert Alfons. He sings with a laconic, don’t-give-a-shit attitude that is alternately enticing and banal. His misanthropic stance and the goth aesthetic of the band lend them an outsider credo. Trust are likely to appeal most to disaffected youth, misunderstood in the prisms of their own solipsism.
The paradoxes and contradictions, strengths and weaknesses of TRST are well encapsulated in the external artifice of the album. TRST is a strangely awkward title choice, essentially a dated text-speak phrase from a band intelligently pushing old influences in new directions. The whole cell phone shorthand thing is a little tiresome at this point, the type of trait that that is liable to archaize an artist to a very specific cultural moment. The album cover is a different kind of beast, featuring an androgynous, distended, gothic personage against a stark white backdrop. It is emblematic of the album itself, confusing and off-putting but ultimately provocative and engaging.
Stream: Trust – “Candy Walls”