With Maya Postepski excusing herself from the Trust table to focus
her considerable energies on Austra, you might expect this second album to mark somewhat of a watershed.
However, despite now existing as the solo project of Robert Alfons, the
first problem with ‘Joyland’ is that it takes the lead entirely from its predecessor, 2012 debut, ‘TRST’.
The second is that it’s unfortunately not as good.
To be fair to ‘Joyland’, from a purely aesthetic Trust Joyland point of view it’s very hard to fault.
Its slick electronics are well-executed and it does a solid job of conjuring up that murky, motion blur of a dark, dank club at 2am.
In Alfons’ world the air seems perpetually thick with desire, the vodka-infused sweat cooling and condensing against the cracked basement ceiling.
There are moments of acid house (‘Peer Pressure,’ ‘Lost Souls/Eelings’) but they crucially lack the soul of an 808 State or a Phuture, Trust Joyland
while the attempts at techno (‘Geryon’, ‘Rescue, Mister’) are, ironically, given Alfons’ titular Albums selection, a little joyless.
Its rhythms opt for precision over groove and what really makes the
collection so turgid is that it takes itself so relentlessly seriously.
Respite comes in the form of opener ‘Slightly Floating’’s oceanic shimmer
and the title track’s sugar-coated synthpop, Trust Joyland
but their relative exuberance isn’t enough to counteract 40 self-conscious minutes of navel-gazing.
It doesn’t even feel like something Postepski could necessarily fix.
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