Trust – Joyland
The sophomore offering from Trust is a solo endeavour for lynchpin Robert Alfons, with Maya Postepski having left the Toronto project shortly after their debut. Vocally, Alfons possesses a remarkable range, allowing him to channel a deep and sonorous moan on anthemic cuts like Geryon and superb first single Rescue, Mister, alongside a more plaintive falsetto on the record's title track and Are We Arc?
Incorporating dark strains of house, techno, early rave and trance, and coupling them with his impressive, stripped vocal melodies, Alfons is less a synth-pop revivalist, more an avant garde songwriter in the mode of Baths or Sun Lux, but inspired by a different wave of electronica more contemporaneous with the dancefloor.
There is a hollow sheen to Alfons' beats and synths, a studied emptiness – teetering on Eurodance, but with a refined, gothic sensibility. With considerably more polished and widescreen production than on 2012's TRST, tracks like Capitol come alive with a darkly glittering studio sheen and strident, echoing pianos, beginning like a souped-up Laibach, but climaxing in a rising and falling chorus that worms into the brain; while Icabod and Four Gut are instant EBM classics with a bright pop gloss. A rich, rewarding return. [Bram E. Gieben]