Octave-jumping “oomp-oomp” basslines echoing the girlie dancefloor heyday of Bananarama and Stacey Q. Despondent, echo-drenched baritone and alto vocals that suggest the singers are trapped in the bottom of a well and not particularly pleased about it. Dry ice, heavy sedatives, and anonymous sex in equal measure. And, most miraculously, hooks. These are the essential ingredients of Trust, the Toronto duo of Robert Alfons and Maya Postepski (the latter’s also half of the similarly sinister but doubly female group Austra).
TRST, the group’s debut, is the most accessible record destined to wear the utterly ridiculous “witch house” tag. But unlike, say, Salem, Trust is danceable even if you’re not stuck in a K-hole. Its tempos vary from mournful ballads like “Candy Walls,” which, minus the synth murk, suggests something Rick Rubin might’ve foisted on Johnny Cash, to hi-NRG thumpers like “Dressed For Space.” Their mannered delivery may be a deal-breaker for some, but like the brightest goths decades before them, Alfons and Postepski write songs strong enough to entice listeners who wouldn’t ordinarily touch a Ouija board, much less bring it to the disco.