When looking at what we know about Trust, the electro-goth duo of Robert Alfons and Austra's Maya Postepski, the comparisons to Crystal Castles aren't just obvious, they beg to be highlighted. Both groups are from Toronto, both are press-averse man-woman duos, and both draw from nasty-sounding synthesizers and the 1980's for musical inspiration. Just as Crystal Castles have found themselves at the middle of fair-use controversies, Trust could be accused of copying the copiers themselves: Last year's single on Sacred Bones, "Bulbform", reappears on the duo's debut LP, TRST, and its trance-y backing melody bears more than a passing resemblance to "Baptism", the five-alarm steamroller of a tune featured on Crystal Castles' second self-titled album from 2010.
I'm willing to write it off as coincidence-- not just because Crystal Castles didn't write the e-book when it comes to specific synth patterns. Whereas that band's punkish, neck-whipping performances suggest music designed to be enjoyed in a communal, sweaty setting, Trust's music sounds introverted by comparison. The missing letter in the album title is "U", and it's fitting; TRST often sounds like Alfons and Postepski are doing this more for themselves than anyone else, with synth melodies that yo-yo into the unknown and atmospherics that change from warm to coruscating with the turn of a phrase. Even the most "single"-ready material here-- "Dressed for Space", "Sulk", "Chrissy E"-- carries a drug-sick lurch, somewhat akin to trying to make your way out of a dark club andyour own head simultaneously.
A fair amount of TRST is cut from the same cloth as the brittle, gloomy melodrama of coldwave, but Alfons and Postepski's music does more than just flirt with analog affectations. Last year, NYC coldwave duo Xeno & Oaklander brought swarming lushness to the genre with Sets & Lights; comparatively, Trust take their own extraordinary machines and slather them in gloss, resulting in the sonic equivalent of what a fashion show might look like if it were put on by depressive pill abusers. This stuff sounds malevolent, but mighty sexy, as Alfons' pinched whine of a voice takes on both characteristics with ease.