There’s always been something pretty special about the brand of music created by Canada’s Men I Trust. Mixing pop elements with yacht rock, R&B and soft rock to craft a chillwave sound that contains hooks is a feat that few have been able to do successfully. Of course, with their new album Oncle Jazz, the three piece not only does just that, they set the playbook on how to do it for any band attempting the same in the future.
There’s a lot here, as the album traipses across twenty four tracks, some of which are album versions of already released songs. Though there are plenty of those songs here, we’re going to choose just one to explain the difference, though all of the album version tracks are different from the originals. For this example we’ll use the saucy bass driven track “Tailwhip.” While the single version and the album version are the same pace, the vocals are mixed differently on the album version, and the bass isn’t as prevalent either. This seems to be the case with all of the album versions, falling differently with subtle changes without changing the songs entirely.
For the rest of the album, the selection of tracks play out with the smoothness you’ve come to expect from the band. Placing bass lines that groove with keys or guitar that just groove heavy underneath the soft vocals on “Days Go By” creates a dizzying array of tones that are upbeat enough to stay with you, but not sappy either. This continues throughout the album on tracks like the cinematic unfolding of “Found Me,” as another example. The swaying guitar uses the tremolo like a chorus pedal and creates its own tone that’s almost hypnotic, as the beat and the vocal almost make you want to start dancing along. “Pines” gives this example again, though with the vocals at the top of the mix between a bass, a beat and an acoustic. The way the band manipulates your ears into falling into their universe of relaxed tones is like no other current band, and makes you ask for more.
The band touches on eighties driven synths with “Slap Pie” and “Fiero GT” enough to make you think the songs were recorded thirty years ago. They slow things down on “Pierre” and “Air” but still never steer you away from what they’re doing. In many ways, the album graces upon you like a long last friend who you never got to know, but still amazes you at every turn. But with all of this, including the beautiful track “Tailwhip Revisited,” the biggest stand out of the album in the newer songs comes on “Porcelain.” The post-punk and at times new wave sounding bass that mixes with the drum and the pedal soaked keys creates a pace that never disappoints, while the vocals come in like a whisper in the middle of the night. The textures of the track alone could be enough for the track to stand alone, as guitar riffs and these dreamy synths come in and out like breathing really just proves that Men I Trust is on another level that few could ever hope to touch.
Oncle Jazz is available for pre-order directly from Bandcamp before its October 11 release, it can be streamed wherever you stream music and can be purchased in all digital outlets. Men I Trust is on tour September 15 in Quebec, QC, Canada at Imperial Bell until December 19 in Washington, DC at 9:30 Club. The band’s complete tour schedule is available here.
Image Credits: Photo Courtesy of Primary Talent.