There is no question that the ‘80s are making a comeback. It seems like the majority of recent buzz bands pull to the decade of sweet pop and crunchy synthesizers for inspiration, making keyboards a necessity for most modern acts. So how does a group make its influences unique? For the Toronto-based electro-goth duo, Trust, the answer may very well be leather. Or bondage. It’s not that the project’s members Robert Alfons and Maya Postepski adorn themselves in masochistic costumes (in public, anyway), but the dark, melodramatic electronic tunes they produce may very well dress this way if they were personified.
Known for her percussionist work with the new wave outfit, Austra, Postepski is no stranger to the electronic music world. But where that group, led by songstress Katie Stelmanis’ booming, harmonious voice, sends its listener to a pristine, sparkling, far off world, Trust’s dark, bass-heavy beats make its listener feel like she just stumbled out of a night club at 4 am with the taste of sweat, whiskey, and possibly blood, lingering on her tongue. It’s this griminess that makes the two-piece so interesting, and it can all be heard on its debut LP, TRST.
Postepski and Alfons don’t waste time with buildups on this album. As soon as the needle drops on the first track, “Shoom,” its listener’s ears are bombarded with layers of heavy synthesizer beats and both live and programmed drums. When Alfons’ vocals kick in, it’s a bit off-putting at first listen. His whiny, baritone voice bares resemblance to Joy Division’s Ian Curtis—drab, a bit monotone, but compelling. It takes some adjusting, but after a few spins, it is clear that no other vocals could mesh so well with the blaring electronic ingenuity behind them.
Although Alfons is the primary vocalist on the album, Postepski lends her voice to a couple songs (“The Last Dregs,” “F.T.F.”, “Chrissy E”), creating a chilling dichotomy of unemotional male/female vocal duels. But even though the feeling of the record is generally cold and distant, there are some upbeat tunes worthy of mention. Namely, “Dressed For Space,” a bouncy, beat heavy track that would have fit perfectly at an after hours club in NYC circa 1980. Alfons adds some inflection to his vocals, creating dynamism that lends to the infectious nature of the song. “Candy Walls,” one of Trust’s first singles, is another light track. The keys chime and bleep and bloop, instead of erecting a looming wall of sound. It’s also slower paced, acting as a pleasant rest to the pounding, fast-paced nature of the record.Even with these glimpses of pop sensibility, TRST is not an accessible album. It is jarring; it is forceful; and clocking in at just under an hour, it is overwhelming. Needless to say, it’s not for everyone. But it is for some, and those fans will give it all the love and listens it deserves.