Trust Company - True Parallels Review
Posted by Brandon Ratliff on 04.01.2005
It has good artwork, but does it have good music?
Trust Company - True Parallels
Release Date: March 22, 2005
Label: Geffen Records
First Single: Stronger
Recommended Downloads: Surfacing, Fold, The War Is Over, Retina (hidden track)
Trust Company is:
Vocals/Guitar: Kevin Palmer
Guitar/Vocals: James Fukai
Bass: Walker Warren (I swear this guy looks like Cooper from Eurotrip)
Drums/Vocals: Jason Singleton
Guest Appearances: Layla Palmer (vocals, Retina)
Welcome to the review of Trust Company’s major label sophomore effort. I will try to be as objective as possible when reviewing this album, considering I know the lead singer (well, I know him through my cousin) as we both are from Montgomery, Alabama, and he and my cousin were good friends in junior high and high school. Not to mention they are super nice guys since they actually will take the time to go and talk to fans on their message boards and such. But this album had a lot riding on it, as it can easily make or break the band’s career as musicians. This, is no small part, is because of their label. For those not in the know, this album was originally slated for a November release…November of 2003. And it wasn’t like it wasn’t done or anything, but the label made them wait, and wait, and wait. Now, a year and a half later, the album is finally released. Was it worth the wait? I don’t wait to say yet, but I do know the answer to that question already as I have given this one countless spins trying to get the feel for it. But don’t take that last comment the wrong way…well, just read on.
This album sat in limbo for almost a year and a half due to their record label, and because they made the band wait for so long, they actually made them go back and record some new songs at one point as the ones that were there already were starting to sound “dated” (fuck you Geffen). But this iteration of it at least turned out decently as far as production and such goes. Getting some production on a couple of the tracks (“Stronger” and “The War Is Over” specifically) by infamous Papa Roach Getting Away With Murder producer Howard Benson, this shows. While “Stronger” is one of the weaker tracks on the album (and a questionable choice for first single), both definitely are up there as far as the band’s abilities as musicians. I don’t mean to say these are better songs persay (these are the two new tracks the band recorded later on), but they definitely sound different from the rest of the album. “Stronger” is something that sounds a lot like their older stuff (pre-The Lonely Position Of Neutral), and “The War Is Over” has the same feel to it as whatever the hell the second single from the aforementioned album was called. Ironically, I think this will be the second single…I can tell by the sound of it that it wasn’t really written to be a single, but it just has that feeling to it…but you’ll see that in the breakdown, which I am getting to now.
Stronger: This is the first single off the album, and one of the two newer tracks recorded due to the long delays. Questionable choice for the first single though as this is one of the weaker tracks on the album. Palmer pushes his voice a lot harder on this one to good results, but something about it just doesn’t click with me. And based on his singles column (and the bit of email chatting we did after it) Horvath agrees with me. Read his breakdown of the song:
Here is a song that I was really excited about. I really enjoyed every song off of Trust Company’s debut CD “The Lonely Position Of Neutral.” In fact it was one of my favorite CD’s of 2002. However, it appears that Trust Company is going to suffer the dreaded sophomore jinx. Nothing about the band’s sound has changed. In fact “Stronger” sounds a lot like the lead single off their last CD Downfall. Hopefully there are better tracks on True Parallels which was released March 22. Stronger is nothing special and disappointing. 2/5
This is a pretty accurate breakdown of the song. While I don’t think it sounds like “Downfall,” I will reiterate that I think this is a fairly weak track. The Lonely Position Of Neutral basically epitomizes 2002 rock music for me (along with Mudvayne’s “Not Falling” and Taproot’s “Poem”), so this song disappointed me a bit at first. Luckily, I was ahead of the crowd and I actually heard one of the stronger (no pun intended) tracks off the album in “Surfacing” back in early 2004.
The War Is Over: As I said in the intro, this song will most likely be the second single. I don’t remember the name of the second single from The Lonely Position Of Neutral (I think it was “The Fear” if I remember correctly), but this song has a very similar feel to it. It wasn’t written to be a single, that much is obvious, but it is a more mellow song with a catchy chorus. I didn’t like it too much the first time I heard it, but it quickly grew on me and it is now one of my more favorite tracks.
Surfacing: I have heard this song time and time again, yet I still never tire of it. This is most definitely the hardest song on the record, and fans will remember it as being in EA’s 2004 baseball game (fuck EA, but SOMETIMES they get decent music). The vocals in the verse are very angry, and it fits the scope of the song very well. This and the guitar and bass riffing are both excellent. While this one is a little harder than most typical singles, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was released as one.
Slave: The music to this one starts out slow but quickly kicks into about the second hardest song on the record. Musically, the song is about average, but the vocals have a nice hook to them in the chorus which is the track’s redeeming quality. It isn’t a bad song, but it really isn’t anything hugely special. It goes good as a transition between “Surfacing” and “Fold” as those two songs are rather different. Decent track overall, but nothing more.
Fold: This track, in my humble opinion, is easily the best song off of the album. The music is vintage Trust Company, and the lyrics are well written and catchy. The chorus almost seems kind of rapped, but you’ll find yourself singing along with this one in no time. The verse and chorus are very different, and the pre-chorus is a great transition as it is about at the halfway point for both parts. Great song.
The Reflection: This is one pissed off track. I wonder if Howard Benson was around when they wrote and recorded it? I kid. Anyhow, the verse is very angst-ridden with the trademark throaty-whisper that Palmer does quite often. The music is pretty good, but it isn’t particularly memorable. This is actually a very well written song, but I have a feeling most listeners will quickly forget about this one as the album goes on.
Breaking Down: The intro to this track is great, and it featured muted guitars with a rolling drums and a solid bass line. The lyrics in this one are a little repetitive, and I can’t help but to get the feeling that the heavy intro that is used as the verse riff just doesn’t fit with the vocals all that well. It isn’t so much that the vocals are overpowered by the music, but the vocals are just mellow and they don’t really flow over the heavy music too well. Maybe it’s just me.
Someone Like You: This song starts out faster (not harder, just faster), but is about the softest song on the album. This one is like…ah crap I can’t remember the name of it. But yeah, it’s a song off of TLPON. But this one is a nice way to break up the pace a bit. Its TLPON counterpart was a bit better of a song, but due to the updated sound, it wouldn’t have fit in the spot as good as this one does. The song also seems a little too short at 2:52. It seems to be shorter than that though when you are listening to it. Once again, it’s probably just me. This is good soft song to break up the pace a little though.
Crossing The Line: This one for some reason sounds like it should have been the last track on the album. It just kind of has the sound to it where you could hear it fading out as the CD (minus the hidden track) is ending. The guitars in the chorus are simple but driving, and the vocals flow very smoothly over them. The bass riffing is very good as well although you have to listen for it, especially in the verse. It would’ve been better as the last track, but a solid song nonetheless.
Silently: Ok, I forgot about this one. This is probably the softest song on the album. The chorus guitars are distorted, but they still manage to keep the song nice and mellow. This is one you kick back to after a long day at work drinking a beer and watching…well, nothing if you are listening to music, but you get the idea.
Erased: It was a smart move to put a harder track in this slot as the last couple of songs have been softer, and to move right onto “Without A Trace” without having anything different would have really fucked up the pacing of the album. This one is a nice blend of a hard verse with a softer chorus, but it kinda sounds like it could’ve been taken straight from TLPON. Nothing wrong with that as I have said several times TLPON is a great album, but it just doesn’t fit the updated sound all that well. A good song on it’s own, but it really should have been left for a soundtrack or something.
Without A Trace: This one is an entirely acoustic song (acoustic songs don’t count as far as the softest track goes) which showcases Palmer’s unique voice in a good way. Even still though, I can’t help but to think this one should have been moved up a track and replaced as the last track by “Crossing The Line.” As it is it is a good way to “end” the album.
Retina: According to the liner notes, Kevin Palmer’s wife Layla Palmer is credited with guest vocals on this track (which is the hidden track at track 41), but as far as I can tell the extent of her guest vocals are her simply saying “go!” near the beginning of the song. There is an overdub in the chorus that might have her singing as well, but Palmer’s voice (the husband) is also overdubbed so it is hard to tell. The funny thing about this song is that it sounds absolutely nothing like Trust Company musically. It does vocally, but that is only because Kevin Palmer has a very unique voice. I don’t know how else to describe it, but I will say that it is definitely one of the best songs on the album. And I would like to say one quick thank you to Melchor for answering my question in the newest Ask411 Music regarding this track. Read that to find out more.
Well, the album is definitely worth its weight, and also thankfully my friends manage to avoid the ever so dreaded sophomore curse. I will be honest with you, The Lonely Position Of Neutral was a better album, but this one has better written songs on it. Think of Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory and Meteora. You know how the good songs on the latter are better than the good songs on the former, yet the former has many more good songs than the latter? That is exactly the case here. While I won’t go as far as saying that any of the songs on this album are bad, there are some that are only subpar, and some that just seem like filler tracks. And I still think “Erased” just plain shouldn’t have been on the album. It is a really good song, don’t get me wrong, but the band did update their sound enough to definitely tell this one should have either been on The Lonely Position Of Neutral or not at all on a studio album. So if you are new to the band, pick up TLPON first, but there is plenty here to please old fans and newcomers alike for quite a while.
You know the drill: keep it hard, keep it heavy, and keep on rocking. I’m out.
The 411: While not as good as their last album, this one manages to keep interest in the band going, as the they updated their sound just enough to keep it familiar, but fresh. Let me say again that this definitely has better songwriting and heavier riffing, it just at some points falls short of the greatness that was The Lonely Position Of Neutral. Still though, this is no sophomore curse, and for that I give some major props to the boys from Alabama. Remember to pick up your copy at Best Buy for only $6.99.