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Trust Punks’ Double Bind could easily be titled Lo-fi Anthems for the Disaffected.
Precedented but by no means pastiche, the New Zealand 5-piece aligns most closely with the non-categorical attitude, and rumbling guitars of Wire. This said, their crashing fretwork, and shambolic rhythms also collide with the sprawling song structures, and repeated grooves of Krautrock.
New Zealand’s Trust Punks thrust us into their warped world of sonic fragments on their new LP Double Bind.
Opening track Paradise/Angel Wire certainly carries the sentimental charge of their nominally punk antecedents, but there are plenty of other influences at play too; a lengthy and levitational shoegaze introduction gives way to warped post-punk jangle.
A polemic cry against the Australian government’s subhuman treatment of refugees, features dystopian lyrics like “You speak for everything and you speak for us” alongside sampled snippets of authoritarian propaganda.
The track serves as the most direct statement of the group’s politicism before vocals become progressively shrouded by clamouring sonic textures, and stripped-back riffs. In true radio-skipping fashion, the album slips together sonic fragments in ways which shouldn’t work, but do.
Moments of ambient minimalism devolve into a world of disorientation, and sonic saturation. The delicate piano sonatas of title track Double Bind are juxtaposed against the jarring guitar of Leaving Room for The Lord. The latter combines mishmashed lyrics, and fumbling rhythms, adding perfectly to the general air of antagonism.
Pig follows with more fittingly dissonant fretwork before breaking into an anthem-like sing along. Beneath the Commons stands out as a true masterwork of damaged DIY song-craft.
A gentle guitar figure occupies a space between vitriolic pastiche, and heartfelt ineptitude. With verse slowly slipping away into nothingness, it’s the arrival of the nonsensical, and melancholic chorus line which sees the album sink its tendrils in. Painstakingly building towards the bliss point of crescendo, Beneath the Commons provides a moment of clarity, and emotional impact.
This is perhaps where the Trust Punks have found their true musical purpose. The track is exemplary of how the 5-piece often stray so close to working together the perfect underground pop tune before ebbing into unsettling atmospherics; abandoning musical ideas no sooner than they’re introduced.
Like Wire or The Residents the group embraces a counter orthodoxy of sound, a musical reflection of disaffection with society at large.
Double Bind entices with alluring glimmers of lo-fi pop potential, but these prove ultimately diversionary to the sonic chaos the group invokes. A frustrating proposition in theory, but that’s what makes Double Bind such a good spin.
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