- The cover of Trust's first full-length, Trst, is plastered with the visage of a bloke, who could, just about literally be described as a sad sack. His fleshy jowls are powdered to a corpse-like palor and the harsh glare of the camera flash doesn't do him any favours, either. He's all done up in house-paint-brush applied mascara and lurid, red lipstick, his flowing black hair glows a faintly, sickly blue and hangs down over his sagging shoulders which are draped with a black, velevet coat. Er actually, given due consideration, he could even be a sack-like lady, but ambiguous androgyny only makes this portrait more convincing. It's the unacceptable face of goth, back from the grave to haunt us! It's also the band's none-too-subtle dig at the tidal wave of 'fashion advice' they've been getting from the goth community. This says a lot more about the band than you might think. Trust, out of Toronto, are Robert Alfons and Austra drummer Maya Postepski. They've had to weather a lot of - quite unreasonable - suggestion that they're just an Austra side-project. Similarly there's a bunch of folks out there who reckon Trust are reading from the Crystal Castles' playbook. All of these bands are from Toronto, a city where the synthesiser industry must be booming because it's got more synthpop groups than a Countdown retrospective. It should also be perfectly bleeding obvious that Trust sound nothing like their compadres. Upon first listening to Trust I was kinda thrilled by their sound: darkwave like it's 1979! It sounds so (re-)fresh(-ed) that only later did I realise, with some surprise, that other people might connect this to the onslaught of synthpop that's been surging into our ears for the last ten years. Trust's primary distinguishing quality is Alfons' voice and to a lesser degree Postepski's as well, although she doesn't break it out very often. No offence to the guy, but I don't reckon he's spent much on singing lessons. He does an almost deadpan gothic croak that, much more than their synth work, just screams darkwave.
Not to worry, there are some folks who know exactly what Trust sound like and are even more thrilled than I am: that would be all those goths. This adoration is not wholly positive. Even if Trust sound a bit like Bauhaus, they dress just like their hipster, Toronto mates and that has caused a problem. I watched the video to Candy Walls, the title track to their debut EP, featuring Alfons and Postepski in their hipster kit, enjoying a day in the countryside. It's the internet so I shouldn't have been as surprised as I was, but the out-and-out warfare going on in the comments section for what? A year now? It's still a bit astonishing. The goths (and presumably some folks just there for the fun of trolling), with blistering subcultural hostility, are laying down the law on what a goth band are allowed to wear and every non-goth Trust fan (presumably hipsters, every man jack of them) is responding with equal vigour.
Much more important than deciding what they are, like pinning an unfortunate butterfly (er, moth? Death's-head moth?) to a specimen tray, Trust sound exciting. It's a slight to the band, but I put this down to the distinctiveness of their sound, rather than how good it is in itself. Trst has got some great moments, but listen to it all in one go and it gets just a touch monotonous: all the slowly thumping gothic bass and Alfons' droning voice starts to blend into one. As if plastering the cover of their album with a great, ugly, gothic mug wasn't bad enough, it'd be another fantastic opportunity to offend their fanbase by branching out into some other sounds on future records. I might enjoy that, though. Nonetheless, I'm enjoying Trust, right now, too. As the kids of today continue to squeeze what little life there is left in the sounds of the 80s, almost unbelievably there's still some beautiful moments. Trust is one of them.
- Chris Cobcroft.