TRUST-Joyland

With Maya Postepski excusing herself from the Trust table to focus her considerable energies on Austra, you might expect this 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. The second is that it’s unfortunately not as good.

To be fair to ‘Joyland’, from a purely aesthetic 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, while the attempts at techno (‘Geryon’, ‘Rescue, Mister’) are, ironically, given Alfons’ titular selection, a little joyless. Its rhythms opt for precision over groove and what 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, but their relative exuberance isn’t enough to counteract 40 self-conscious minutes of navel-gazing.

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