Seems Unfair, the 2nd album of 2015 from Trust Fund has proved me wrong. When reviewing their debut album No One’s Coming For Us’ I said that songs like ‘Stomach’ and ‘Cut Me Out’ were “good examples of where the big rock-out guitar sections could have been polished up but thankfully haven’t been”. I was referring to the charm of the record’s lo-fi production values which have been reversed on Seems Unfair and I’ve now decided it’s all the better for it. Hey, I write about music. I’m allowed to be wrong, I almost always am.
For all of 60 seconds or so, album opener ‘Michal’s Plan’ leads us down the path of the debut album, a tender opening, just a strumming guitar and voice, no percussion, all very familiar territory. Then the band punches in and we’re in power punk pop territory and quick as a flash the transition is made to the sound that dominates this album.
And what a great album it is. Having listened to this repeatedly for several weeks it’s the kind of record that fills your head with joyous nonsense. It makes you grin like a fool on the train attracting suspecting looks from miserable commuters who can’t comprehend why anyone would be happy on their way to work, as the title track says, ‘Seems Unfair’. This is one of those records that provides you with a different favourite song every time you listen to it.
The key difference on this album is not only in the beefed up sound, the guitars crunch and bounce through almost all of every track. It’s that this record makes Trust Fund seem like more of a band compared to the first album which very much came across as Ellis Jones doing it all himself regardless of whether that was the case or not. This record has a group feel to it, the kind of songs that only a tightly knit gang of buddies could produce by bouncing ideas off each other, by loving each other’s company and by simply having fun. This sense of fun was what particularly stood out when I caught Trust Fund playing with Speedy Ortiz last week (review here).
Previously shared songs ‘Football’ and ‘Dreams’ are perfect examples of the overall quality on this record. The former is based around a catchy-as-hell guitar chord sequence and a slow refrain of vocals in the breakdown. It feels like it has a massive chorus but the title is only actually mentioned at the end of the song, it’s like the song keeps climbing towards a chorus that’s never arriving and the song is structured like any climb, you don’t get to the top until the end. The latter is a beautiful indie-pop jangle that’ll have you on the dance floor although in this case the chorus seems to back down from the verses and has the opposite effect of ‘Football’.
Vocals wise Trust Fund have really gone to town with the fun of melodies and backing vocals, there’s layer upon layer of vocals intertwining, particularly in the brief quieter moments. The lyrics themselves seem to be similarly themed to the previous album (from what I can make out) and play with everyday events, places, thoughts and feelings that everybody seems to have but only skilful writers can make sound sensible on paper.
With the exception of the title track, which does kick into rock-out mode eventually, the pace is kept up throughout the album. There are various moments of joy and sadness throughout, often within the same song. This is one trick that Trust Fund have definitely maintained from their first record and is all the more impressive considering the rocking nature of all the songs here. The quality is maintained right to the end with the closing songs ‘Big Asda’ (supermarkets everywhere – all the big 4 are mentioned except Morrison’s, unless I just missed that) and ‘Can You Believe’ proving to be as strong as anything I’ve heard from the band.
In an interview earlier this year Ellis told Overblown that he doesn’t make for a particularly good friend. That’s certainly not the impression you get when listening to his band’s records which will charm you and make you want to feel part of their gang. And hey, you don’t have to be friends, you don’t have to like anyone you don’t want to, but you should like Trust Fund. They’re in a pretty good place and as they say in ‘Dreams’, “the grass is greener where we are”.
Seems Unfair by Trust Fund is released on Fri 30th Oct via Turnstile. Buy it here