Release Date: Mar 4, 2014
Record label: Arts & Crafts
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic
Lugubrious. Lugubrious. Lugubrious. The single best thing about the new album from Trust is that you can justifiably call it lugubrious. A word that no matter how you approach it, is delicious to say. The most obvious reason why being Robert Alfons’ voice. A voice which is part Garden of Eden ….
Gallant, atmospheric and desirably ostentatious - ‘Joyland’ makes a proud follow-up to Robert Alfons’ 2012 not-quite-self-titled debut, ‘TRST’.By no means is this a sit-at-homer – ‘Joyland’ deserves both your legs and some liquid rehydration. Whilst tracks are stressed but beautiful everything is tied together through clean, high-quality production.Ethereal opening track, ‘Slightly Floating’, is dogged by a dormant bass which hints at shadowy things to come. Thankfully, the vocals don’t take ownership of the album, instead working with it to highlight the darkness within.
Trust became one of the definitive acts in Canada's thriving dark electronic pop scene -- which also includes Grimes, Crystal Castles, Purity Ring, and Austra -- after the release of their first album, TRST. Unlike those gossamer-voiced artists, Trust features the deep, unearthly vocals of Robert Alfons, which heightened the equally brooding and seedy vibe of their Juno-nominated debut. Soon after TRST's release, however, Alfons' bandmate Maya Postepski departed to focus on her duties as Austra's drummer, and Trust continued as his solo project.
On his debut LP, 2012's Juno-nominated TRST, Robert Alfons (a.k.a. Trust) presented listeners, literally and figuratively, with a unique voice. Falling somewhere between Peter Murphy and Count Chocula, Alfons surrounds his midnight delivery with bright, pulsating pop beats, creating a sonic dichotomy that is quite uncommon in modern electronic music.On Joyland, his sophomore LP, Alfons dives deeper into the peripherals, exploring unabashedly huge dancefloor beats while pushing his vocals even deeper into the mix.
Joyland, the new album from Canadian electro project Trust, opens with shimmers of spectral keyboards, free of any grounding besides the subterranean baritone of singer/producer Robert Alfons. The song is called “Slightly Floating,” an apt name for the track’s ephemeral mood. Indeed, the song’s gauzy, lighter-than-air glimmering arrives as a red herring when taken in context of the rest of Joyland, an album otherwise singularly concerned with direct, compact club music.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Is there anything Robert Alfons can't do? On Trust's debut album TRST, released in 2012, we were captivated by his amazing vocal range: from a sultry low register to high-pitched feminine crooning. Those of us lucky enough to catch the band live witnessed his ability to entrance the crowd with his nimble jumping and dark synthpop.
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.
Shortly after the release of TRST—the debut LP from Canadian coldwavers Trust—Maya Postepski said her goodbyes, leaving Robert Alfons to go it alone while she refocused her energies on Toronto dream-poppers Austra. Postepski and Alfons shared both songwriting and vocal duties on TRST, making her exit not just sudden, but potentially drastic. Yet there's something strangely fitting about Alfons carrying on as a solo project: Trust, after all, are precisely the kind of band that seems to thrive on alienation and solitude.
“There’s a little wandering rat” Maya Postepski (also of Austra) spoke of on “This Ready Flesh”, from Trust’s 2012 debut, TRST. It’s “In the photographic alley/ He’s walking to the street/ Going to the bar.” With Trust’s sophomore album, Joyland, this verminous personification of aimless street grime is abandoned for something less thoughtfully dirty and dark. Also gone is Postepski herself, leaving Robert Alfons the current solo member of Toronto outfit Trust.
Back in 2010, Angular Records put out the brilliant compilation Cold Wave and Minimal Electronics Volume 1, featuring various obscure European synth bands from the early 80s. The icy sound they pioneered has since been plundered by countless modern-day groups, from the Faint to Crystal Castles, although Trust's Robert Alfons takes this cold-wave obsession to new heights, mimicking not just the crisp synths of those artists but also the occasionally comical gothic vocal stylings. A track like Geryon may aim to create an atmosphere of isolation and despair, but it ends up sounding like the kind of thing you'd expect to hear in a Berlin pleasure dungeon where consenting adults pay to have their private parts trodden on.
“Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did … Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this tangle of thorns.”– Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita When fashion had finally finished mining punk, sometime in the late 90s, it looked around for subcultures yet to be exploited. It found goth.
opinion bySAMUEL TOLZMAN Since Toronto’s Robert Alfons makes blackhearted, mildly industrial synthpop as Trust, it makes sense that the project is regularly slapped with the label “coldwave,” lumped in with a “goth revival” that’s been going on for around six years now, and associated, in demeanor if not exactly genre, with “witch house. ” Looking beyond the mere presence of minor-key synthesizers, though, there aren’t really that many connecting threads between Trust’s music and the boxes it’s often placed in. Trust has none of Cold Cave’s romanticism, Zola Jesus’s sense of compositional craft, or Light Asylum’s militant hostility; little of the icy flatness of the Soft Moon or the intense personal feeling of Austra (whose drummer Maya Postepski was once Alfons’s partner in the now-solo Trust).