Album Review // TWENTY ØNE PILØTS ‘Trench’
With unexpected surprises at every turn, Twenty One Pilots return with an enthralling album that will push them towards even greater heights.
Twenty One Pilots began this new era with host of cryptic messages and social media posts, and the wait is finally over as they unveil their fifth studio album Trench.
Similar to their previous records, it’s a conceptual album. Based around a world called DEMA, it follows a character called Clancy as he tries to escape said world. Across the fourteen tracks that form up the album, the duo builds a whole narrative which gives plenty for fans to sink their teeth into. As if that isn’t already an impressive enough feat in itself, the album is one of the most sonically cohesive works that the duo have produced.
Opening with Jumpsuit, it’s a bass laden track that will send tremors through you. A thundering introduction gives way to exposed lyrics, as the opening lines “I can’t believe how much I hate / Pressures of a new place roll my way” ring out amongst delicate drum beats and a flowing bass line. A masterpiece in tension, periods of brevity are contrasted with crushing moments of heavy riffing and increasingly agitated vocals. Seamlessly flowing into Levitate, it’s an exploration into the hip-hop landscape as Tyler Joseph demonstrates his rapping prowess. The hip-hop nature allows for Josh Dun’s dynamic drumming to take centre stage, and as flowing lyrics and rim clicks flow into each other, you won’t be able to resist the kinetic energy underlying the track.
Morph continues the duo’s sonic evolution, blending hip-hop inspired choruses with parts that boast of an RnB tendency. As dazzles of brass ring across chilled out beats, you’ll feel yourself lulled in by the hypnotic electronics as it loops over in the background.
Continuing with the rousing My Blood, it’s a song about sticking up for each other and having each other’s back. Singing “If you find yourself in a lion’s den / I’ll jump right in and pull my pin / And go with you”, there’s a strong sense of solidarity created within the words of the track, and as the chorus soars over a bed of bass and percussion, you’ll be left feeling empowered.
There’s a haziness in Chlorine to be found in the falling piano notes and atmospheric electronics. As washes of vocal harmonies cover you in a blanket of warmth, the resonance creates a spatial quality to the track which allows for an undisturbed moment of reflection. The tempo shifts for a slowed down ending, a completely stunning moment as strings and vocals come together in perfect harmony. Smithereens is an adorable love song which will warm your heart, but the hard-hitting Neon Gravestones will bring the chills with its brutally honest lyrics.
The Hype brings up the mood with its bouncy feeling and sing-along melodies, and of course it would not be a Twenty One Pilots album without a ukulele, which makes an appearance in the bridge. Following Nico And The Niners thrills with its reggae inspired beats and rapid-fire rapping in the bridge. In this sense, the track feels like it could be a continuation of previous Twenty One Pilots album, and for this reason, it’s sure to appeal to older fans. With a hint of rebellion as Tyler insists “DEMA don’t control us”, it’s a track you won’t be able to resist.
The relaxed beats in Cut My Lip complement the unhurried vocal delivery, and as wavey electronics breeze over, you’ll be engulfed by the easygoing vibe. Bandito is sure to touch many hearts with its piano accompaniment and soft vocals, and there’s an ethereal quality to the track as lyrics flow like honey.
Prepare for an electronic heavy track in Pet Cheetah, which pushes at the duo’s experimental sound, whilst Legend brings back the sunshine feeling with its falsetto and light ukulele. Closing with balladic Leave The City, as the last line echoes “They know what I mean”, you’ll feel all the emotion coursing through you as Trench finishes.
Grappling with human emotions, the feeling you’ll get from listening to the album will stay with you for a long time as Twenty One Pilots prove yet again they’re one of the most exciting musicians around.