Remember the good old days when music and politics were two completely separate institutions and rock didn’t have to contain poorly-disguised anti-Bush sentiment to be considered noteworthy? And when did rock albums start warranting the inclusion of guest musicians and artists from a totally different music genre?
Nowadays, with all the mainstream junk that manages to claw its way onto the charts and airwaves, it’s no wonder a truly decent rock album can slip through the cracks. Such an album was released by alternative-rock band Trust Company awhile back to little hype and even less well-deserved acclaim. “True Parallels,” the band’s sophomore effort and follow-up to stellar 2002 debut album “The Lonely Position of Neutral,” was released early in 2005 and promptly fell by the music wayside. Although this is only Trust Company’s second album, it also qualifies as its last. Unconfirmed rumors have been swirling for the sometime that the group has broken up, and the band itself has all but dropped completely off the radar since the release of the latest album.
The first track on “True Parallels,” “Stronger,” explodes into the listener’s head in a welcome fit of adrenaline-fueled rock momentum. The following tracks continuously feed off this momentum to create an album that doesn’t lose credibility from start to finish, as many albums have the tendency to do. Other notable songs on the album include “Surfacing,” “Crossing the Line” and second track “The War is Over,” which is not about war in the conventional sense but a conflict between two people in a relationship. Singer Kevin Palmer‘s vocals transition from a raspy, emotive whisper to a cathartic near-scream without missing a beat. Heavy, empathy-laden guitar riffs provided by Palmer and lead guitarist James Fukai add a little more edge to a sound that is already edgy as hell. No rock album would be complete without the obligatory ode to lost love. Track No. 8, a slower, more melodic song titled “Someone Like You,” fills this requirement nicely. “True Parallels” finally loses its momentum and fades out on a dreamy, melancholy note with No. 12, “Without a Trace.” It then bounces back on the hidden track, a raw, years-in-the-making-yet-demo-sounding anthem titled "Retina" in the hidden track No. 41 spot on the album.
This CD is one of those rare types that are best to listen to straight through, in their entirety. Every song is exceptional, not just one or two. It takes talent to harness the feelings of hopelessness, despair and loneliness and make them do a 180 transformation into dynamic, motivating music. Listening to this album gives one the sense of triumph synonymous with facing obstacles and trials head-on and overcoming them. One of the best things about “True Parallels” is that the lyrics and music contained therein concern pure, raw human emotion and feelings, nothing else. The album exhibits no politically-fueled undertones and requires no guest artist accompaniment, save for the guest background vocals of Hoobastank’s Doug Robb on the opening track.
“True Parallels” is a pure, feel-good modern rock masterpiece. Virtually any fan of rock music (and a number of rock non-fans as well) would love this album.