Whilst playing Trust’s musical début a myriad of mysterious mirages materialised from those netherworldly magical boxes dubbed “The speakers”. Yet one phantasmagoric illusion lingered longest and strongest. It beheld the mystic shape of the illustrious Count Von Count from Sesame Street. In some freak mishap, it appeared Von Count was inadvertently placed into suspended animation “Walt Disney-stylee” and secretly buried deep beneath layers of “Fraggle” Rock in preservation for future generations. A million moons later a touring starfleet of technotronic robots unearthed him and on the count of “A-wan…A-too…A-free” reawakened our Vaudevillian Vampire. TRST captures that moment. One hour holding court before a captivated audience of androids, raveheart replicants and strobing holograms with one sleepy ‘n’ croaky Count slowly regaining his mind, soul and erm, “Other sensations”.
OK, Trust aren’t actually teleporting in from Venus or Romania but chilly Toronto and the voice of Von Count belongs to Robert Alfons who, along with Austra’s Maya Postepski, have crafted this fiendishly dark nightcrawler début. The sound of a chilled-out ‘n’ dug-up caped Compère recalling his halcyon days spent in Goth-friendly basements in saucy Berlin nightclubs circa ‘84. Hi-NRG basslines, blockrockin’ 4/4 beats, pasty faces with vacant stares and an endless fountain of black nail varnish. TRST is no wallflower, it’s ready to rumble. From opener “Shoom”, its arrival akin to that colossal pyramid battlecruiser that sweeps overhead at the top of Star Wars. Passing so razor-sharp close it gives you a centre parting.
Through the next fifty-minutes stomp one lo-lit club banger after another. “Dressed for Space” (Yes pick up your silver jumpsuit on entry please) conjures up Divine’s brief dalliance with disco and is so flamboyantly decadent you half expect Udo Kier to drift by slyly pursing his lips and nursing a Martini. “Put it in the ice box and we’ll see” beckons the Count, sorry Alfons, cryptically. Elsewhere “Bulbform” offers a butch remodeling of Crystal Castles’ “Courtship Dating” with added secret society, cloaked ‘n’ masked chanting and a bassline the size of the Titanic. Later the UFO rave dazzler “Glory Hole” (“Mommy, what’s a glory hole?.....Ewww”) translates the snakecharmer riff from CC’s “Baptism” to hypnotic effect and by turns twists from diabolically demonic to ecstatically elevating.
Occasionally Alfon’s frosty drawl fades for Postepski’s softer yearn and her appearances lift and dissipate the chilly, disconnected ambiance significantly. She illuminates the dry ice and the cavernous “Any colour so long as it’s black” manifesto, radiating like some interstellar valentine beamed across the cosmos. “Love push away colour! Push away light!” she hollers on “Shoom”. Similarly her cameo on the glitchy, twitchily mechanical “Last Dregs” radiates like divine intervention, a flicker of soul inside the machine. Finally she steers “Chrissy E” into somewhere more soulful than its “Attack of the ‘Blue Monday’ Clones” birthplace.
There are times when TRST definitely offers more than cheap thrills. Last year’s calling-card dreamwave single “Candy Walls” still burns brightly amidst the darkness. Afloat on memory bliss and drifting like Visage’s “Fade to Grey” on tiger tranquillizers, it’s the voice of your pilot confirming “Ladies and gentlemen, we are floating in space”. It makes you long for more corners of wistful reflection on Planet TRST. The Austra-esque Mothership “Heaven” offers another highlight. Heavy, narcotic verses blossom into one celestial supernova chorus that feels like the sun imploding. It’s planet pop albeit “From a galaxy far, far away”. Ditto the engine-room throb of “F.T.F” which struts seductively like Jacko’s “Billie Jean” before a hacking ‘n’ retching interval that sounds like Alfons vomiting his soul and then cheerfully gliding off into Orbital’s “E’s and Wizz” classic “Chime”. “At first she took my hand / Then she took my eyes” sighs Alfons.
Admittedly over eleven tracks, this relentless onslaught of blindin’ lazers, thunderdome bass and floorshakin’, juggernautin’ sonic boom gradually loses its empirical power to dazzle. For all its whistles n’ bells TRST sometimes fails to find a connection and occasionally you glimpse the old man wheeling away behind the magical curtain. The Konami-infused Space Invader pulse of “This Ready Flesh” for one borders close to wry Flight of the Conchords synthduo pastiche. I’m sensing homemade robot costumes fashioned from cardboard and tinfoil, and zoom in for our Blue Steel finale, “We! Believe!...In nothing!”.
TRST is a sharp ‘n’ smartly entertaining synth-noir début yet it falls just shy of hitting the truly big numbers. For all its trashtalk of ‘Erotomania’ and the spooktastic, sleaze-sista goth star on its sleeve threatening to unleash “The horror, the horror”, TRST ultimately proves often, well, too cool. A few more genuine surprises and some pirouettes with pace, mood ‘n’ décor would’ve raised its score immeasurably. Alfon’s Transylvanian tenor only adds to the overall feeling that Trust’s tongue is firmly wrapped in cheek. That said, TRST still offers an enjoyable walk on the wild(ish) side and will undoubtedly sound imperial in the clubs. Just brace yourself for the unshakeable suspicion that at any moment your black velveteen host may count to three, whip his cloak overhead and totter back to his castle beneath cartoon lightning and beckoning “Ah listen to them! The children of the night! What music they make!”.
// Notes from the Road
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