Rock for the Twilight Hours

The Trust (Independent)

The Trust

By Tim Roberts

Even though we rank somewhere between paparazzi photographers and Three-Card Monte dealers in the chain of Life's Important People, we music critics sometimes get to do some cool things. Besides being able to drink beer while listening to music and trying to cram together words that have some vague relevance to the recording we're writing about, we get to create off-the-cuff subgenres, custom-made for whatever we're listening to at the time. It's a handy device we learned in Critic's School to avoid having to actually make comparisons and contrasts with other styles of music, to enhance a critical understanding of the aural challenges an artist presents, to guide the listener through all the seductive nuances in an entire catalog of recordings or in a single eight-bar phrase.

In short, we can do it because we sometimes don't like to work too hard.

However, in listening to the self-titled debut release from Louisville's The Trust, we can, with a clean conscience and cleaner ears, create a new subgenre and not feel like we're cheating the listeners. Let's call their new subgenre "8 p.m. Rock," with a sound that's twilighted between the sunny afternoon energy of power pop and the sultry darkness of heavy rock or even blues.

Formerly known as the Herbie Hinkle Ensemble, the three members of that band reformed as The Trust after Hinkle's "mysterious death." Still guided by Hinkle's spirit, the trio of Jon Beazlie on guitars and lead vocals, Joe Wheeler on bass and Jeremy Smith on drums has crafted a dozen tunes that firmly reside in that 8 p.m. musical time slot with guitar hooks, drumming and vocal melodies that straddle between energetic and edgy, between bouncy and smoking hot.

What ultimately makes this recording memorable isn't any one song or style of playing, but rather the sublime touches added to several of the tracks: Smith's syncopated drum work on the opening track "All the Same," the dreamy vibrato of the final note on "Siren," the riff borrowed from "Telemarketing Song" that is used on the preceding track "Hello," which also contains samples from Beazlie's answering machine and a keyboard playing the archetypal ten-note "circus" song (the one that goes la-dat-datdatdatdatdat-da-da-dum), the funk-rooted guitar opening and key changes of "Pair of Shoes."

However, one track that deserves special mention is "Mid City Life," a bluesy piece told in the first-person by a persona representing the scraggly old men who hang out inside the east entrance of Louisville's Mid City Mall on Bardstown Road (by the inside entrance to what used to be the Winn-Dixie). The persona's life is hard: thrown out by his woman, begging for change or a smoke, drinking Listerine to get a nauseating buzz, losing his cardboard box home and the stash of leftover Subway bread he had found. It is a sympathetic portrayal, but the blues growl behind it keeps it from slipping into the sugared realm of a family sitcom's Very Special Episode ("Tonight on Family House Matters, Davey goes to the store with Sally and meets a special friend who wears Kleenex boxes for shoes and smells like urine and something from great-grandma's medicine cabinet.").

With all its subtleties and a sound that fits nicely between pop and full-tilt rock, the debut from The Trust is like a glass of fine sherry: perfect for after-dinner lounging, but it also gets you ready for the harder stuff that comes later.

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