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With the release of Borderline and Alligator in recent months, Brisbane’s Trails laid a foundation for what promised to be an emotively melodic and toweringly experimental debut. Collecting the two singles and three new cuts, EP Ø surprisingly delivers more. Showcasing an unexpected diversity, the EP moves outwards from the immensity of Alligator and Borderline, providing moments of ambience and punchier hard rock leanings.
A hazy melding of infectious psych hooks, mesmerising synth washes and frontman Tyler’s floating vocals Borderline, which dropped in February, remains a shining example of Trails’ signature sound. Follow-up Alligator spirals downwards. Juxtaposing its antecedent’s warmer tone, brooding introspection, sweeping builds and dense instrumental layering inhabit an altogether darker space.
Trails are energetically going about their rock rampage. With their EP Ø freshly blazing, emotively melodic and toweringly experimental goodness will hammer your eardrums.
Third track All Or Nothing strikes out in a similar vein to Alligator. This said, the track’s dissonantly off-kilter synth hook creates an unsettling tone. Casting off the polish of previous tracks, there’s a surprising rawness here. An unnerving directness pushes a pointed and paranoiac vocal delivery. Pleading lyrics like “So longing for your care” reinforce the impression of an unsettlingly sinister headspace. Stacking layers of sound convey a sense of building intensity, backing the ultimatum “all or nothing.”
With a folk inflected sound analogous to Alt J, subdued fourth track Nest takes the form of an idyllic slow burner. Swirling away from monolithic riffs, the track creates a sparse yet immersive soundscape. A haunted falsetto accompanies a minimalistic arrangement and cavernous production to weave a melancholic sense of abandon.
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Bringing things to a close with unrelentingly drive, King Tide instils the EP with an unexpectedly explosive hard rock edge. Anthemic vocals and militant descending bass sit font and centre. Droning backing vocals, a rolling drum line and shimmering synths anticipate the album’s hypnotic and blistering conclusion. Combining an understated swagger and darker pathos, the track serves a restatement of the brooding grandiosity which permeates the EP.
Eschewing more uniform cohesion EP Ø sends Trail’s sonic identity sprawling outwards. Bookending a darker density and more ambient leanings in-between two rock numbers, there’s no shortage of emotional intensity, hypnotic rhythms and thunderous riffs. The EP puts forward more than a few sonic possibilities for Trails and showcases a quiet but uncompromising ambition. While it’s the first offering from Trails, it’s difficult to shake the sense that there’s more to come from this Brisbane 6-piece.
Trails will be kicking off their official EP Ø launch at Brisbane’s Black Bear Lodge on May 1st.
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