Release Date: Nov 6, 2015
Record label: Turnstile
Despite coming just months after the band’s debut LP, Seems Unfair marks a surprising step-up from Trust Fund, and though the DIY twee sensibility of No One’s Coming For Us is still present in swathes, it’s far from a record comprised of that album’s cast offs. Often compared to Alabama's Waxahatchee, the two share a similar interest in playing with the dynamics of their music, something Trust Fund do to much greater lengths here; tracks such as “Scared II” and “4th August” break down to an almost whisper before exploding in to the kind of technicolour indie-pop Waxahatchee exhibited on this year's Ivy Tripp. Perhaps unsurprisingly however, Seems Unfair has perfected the kind of glum realism that only a British band could, singer Ellis Jones conjuring images festering swimming costumes in Tesco bags and relationships maintained purely on the basis of football.
Contrary to the impression given by the dullards found on the pages of the free press and radio playlists, British indie is currently in rude health with the likes of Martha, Joanna Gruesome and, best of all, Trust Fund. Second LP Seems Unfair offers the kind of melodic prowess, lyrical wit, sensitivity and social awareness that harks back to the days of Felt, Hefner and The Smiths with the band capable of effervescent, wonky guitar attacks more in keeping with the early material of Stateside benchmarks Weezer, Pavement and more recently, Waxahatchee. Ellis Jones possesses the rare gift of being able to write conversationally in song, managing to avoid cliché and rendering lyrics that could appear altogether too knowing in less deft hands irresistible.
Following in the footsteps of fellow football-referencing indie sweethearts Belle and Sebastian, it’s two albums in the same year for Trust Fund. For a songwriter that finds influence in the most normal and human of places, it’s not really surprising to learn that ‘Seems Unfair’ had been penned before February’s ‘No one’s coming for us’ had even been released. With its charm, scrappy naivety and, most notably, honesty, Ellis Jones’ early solo work under the guise quite naturally earned fans amongst the DIY scene in his native Bristol, and despite a full-length coming out through Turnstile, the self-produced and self-recorded debut still felt very much like a product of those roots.
Two albums in eight months is good going. Two great albums in eight months is exceptional. This is exactly what Ellis Jones aka Trust Fund has done. In February he released No One's Coming for Us. It was 30 minutes of devastatingly simple lyrics, that had the added punch of Jones’ ability to tap ….
Trust Fund is essentially Bristol-based songwriter Ellis Jones, whose records and tours are rounded out by a rotating cast of musician friends from around the UK. Seems Unfair is his second album of 2015. Back in February, Jones released Trust Fund's debut No One's Coming for Us, which he broke down in a track-by-track feature with unusually transparent remarks on his inspirations.
2015 has often seemed like an Epcot Center version of Nineties indie-rock, with charming little guitar bands who recall charming little bands of the past popping up almost too fast to keep track of. Here's another one: Bristol, England's Trust Fund (a.k.a. singer-guitarist Ellis Jones plus some mates) is cut from the same noise-pop cloth as Joanna Gruesome (who they did a split single with in 2014), playing a power-pop version of My Bloody Valentine's shoegaze glide, with an added pinch of Sixties folk-pop whimsy à la Nineties bliss-poodles like the Lilies, Papas Fritas and the Hang Ups.