Trust: Joyland (Arts & Crafts) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Arts & Crafts

Mar 04, 2014 Issue #49 - February/March 2014 - Portlandia Bookmark and Share

Dead of winter, 2012: Toronto-based Robert Alfons and Maya Postepski (also of Canada's Austra), who called themselves Trust, deliver what would become one of the year's best and most self-assured debut albums. TRST was #37 on Under the Radar's "Best of 2012" list and our own Austin Trunick rightly praised the album for its grooving synths, moody texture, competent songwriting, and sweaty goth nightclubbery. Frankly, it'd be very nearly impossible to follow up a debut as fully-formed as Trust's without disappointing some and also validating hype-weary skeptics, of which there are a few. But Joyland, while not quite as stirring as its shit-hot predecessor, is no sophomore slump, either.

The ethereal album opener "Slightly Floating," which also serves as the backdrop for the album teaser released in early December, gives the impression we might be in for a more toned-down Trust. Perhaps Joyland will be better suited for late night chill-outs instead of laser-lit dance floors? But nah, "Slightly Floating" remains just a teaser, more like a three-minute album intro, which is immediately followed by "Geryon" and it's clear from then on that Alfons has picked up right where he left off in 2012, but this time without Postepski, who left midway through touring TRST. The album's sonicallyand appropriatelyjoyous title track features a peppy four-on-the-floor and a pitch-shifted lead vocal that makes Alfons sound like a different person altogether. Matter of fact, he uses this trick all over the record, but still occasionally inserts his signature, deadpan, weirdo baritone where necessary. The slow-burning album highlight "Are We Arc" is really lovely and beautiful, even if nearly every single word is totally unintelligible.

Joyland is going to take a few more spins than TRST to really set in, but the deeper you dig, the more you realize how meaty it is. There are 11 tracks and just over 50 minutes of sexy-synth-goth-pop here where Alfons appropriates the very best and darkest moments of vintage Pet Shop Boys and then shoves it all through a computerized meat grinder. The results are sometimes dazzling. (

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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