Trust Company’s eagerly anticipated third release is difficult to analyze considering the amount of hype the album received beforehand, as well as the misconception fans are creating by calling Dreaming In Black And White the band’s hardest and best material yet. Both of these statements are inaccurate, as the band’s sophomore release, The Lonely Position Of Neutral, still easily claims these titles. The new album is not unsatisfactory because it certainly appeases any fans looking for a new dose of Trust Company. The group once again displays their unique brand of fusing harder rock with exceptionally soft vocals, as Kevin Palmer’s raspy yet smooth voice gives them an X-factor.
Unfortunately, with the numerous lighter and softer songs that litter the record, the album takes on a newer, different feel for the worse, almost sounding like older Hawthorne Heights at various points. The blend of hard rock and soft vocals worked so effectively in the past because Palmer would elevate his game and provide a few screams every now and then, but in Dreaming In Black And White, his voice remains consistently soft, which renders his vocals as dull and repetitive on some songs. There are certainly a few tracks that stand out and add themselves to the group’s already impressive résumé, but for the most part, the new album leaves the impression that the best is (hopefully) yet to come.
“Close Your Eyes (Til It’s Over)” kicks the album off on a positive note, possessing all the qualities of Trust Company’s music that makes them stand out: the dichotomy of Palmer’s hushed yet strained vocals, Jason Singleton’s ear-throbbing drums and James Fukai’s pummeling guitar riffs. This song embodies the group’s brand of music: softer verses with quiet, echoing guitar in the background that leads into fast-paced choruses and heavy breakdowns of reverberating, whining guitars and unrelenting drumming. This song claims the title of best on the album by simply sticking to what the band does best.
“Heart In My Hands” opens with a flurry of action, and for a minute it seems like this will be Trust Company’s hardest material yet. Unfortunately, the band’s first single shows traces of softness to come and never reaches its full potential, failing to capitalize on the fluctuating riffs, pounding drums and solid bass work by Wes Cobb. The fault here lies in Palmer’s lack of vocal exertion, as his voice never ascends near its normal realm of passion during the chorus. In the past, Palmer’s softer vocals were used sparingly, and when paired with his fervent side, came off as artistic. At this point, they just feel uninspired considering the amount of energy this song could have had. It’s still a fine addition to the album and an interesting music video, but it feels like an underachievement when all is said and done.
“Stumbling” represents Trust Company’s departure from the norm of vehement yet reflective music in favor of a more meditative and morose tone. Hints of this style could be seen in the past, but this reserved and sentimental flavor was never as prevalent before now. It translates well on an individual level, as this tender ballad about being absorbed by love’s grip is very earnest and easy to relate to. The resonating guitar and Palmer’s appropriately hushed vocals in the verses lend to the song’s contemplative sincerity, while a soulful guitar solo during the crescendo adds to its emotion.
“Skies Will Burn” provides a refreshing dose of Trust Company’s typical brand of music, including elevated and confident vocals from Palmer. This potent rocker about closing the door on someone who has run out of chances would fit in perfectly with any of the band’s best songs, staying true to the music’s grim but catchy nature. A well-placed breakdown and escalating climax both emphasize the repeated critical message of the song: “Your salvation’s over”.
Trust Company still manages to produce a sound new album, but regrettably, they’ve lost a bit of their edge with Dreaming In Black And White. Overall, it seems more generic and accessible to the mass population, but in this way, Palmer and the band as a whole seem to have lost the harder side that made them stand out. The group fails to capture the same moody atmosphere of The Lonely Position Of Neutral in their third release, easing up off the throttle to deliver a different listening experience. This experience certainly has a mood of its own as well as its respective high points, but it will have to grow on fans to be able to measure up to the band’s impeccable sophomore effort. Fans of Trapt, 32 Leaves, Taproot, Hawthorne Heights, and Amity Lane will enjoy the latest taste of Trust Company, but might hope for slight improvement in the future.
Final Score: 6.8/10
Rank: 2nd (three total albums)
- Close Your Eyes (Til It’s Over)
- Heart In My Hands
- Almost There
- Reverse & Remember
- Pulling You Down
- Alone Again
- Dreaming In Black & White
- Letting Go
- Skies Will Burn
- We Are The Ones
- Don’t Say Goodbye
- Stumbling (Acoustic)