The New Trust

Dark Is the Path Which Lies Before Us

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On a basic level, Santa Rosa indie rockers the New Trust are so screamingly pretentious as to be almost laughable. The band, led by the married couple of bassist and singer Josh Staples and guitarist Sara Sanger, favors the sort of verbose song titles that generally signify earnest emo mewling of pseudo-profound lyrics over herky-jerky, deliberately fractured riffs. And while there's certainly that element to Dark Is the Path Which Lies Before Us (which, to be nitpicky, would better be "That Lies Before Us," but whatever), the quartet is both smarter and more competent than that. Staples favors brief, tuneful songs rooted in first-generation emo bands like Fugazi but with a much stronger than average sense of pop songcraft. These 13 concise tunes are musically varied but uniformly catchy, featuring a greater than average number of memorable guitar riffs from Sanger and Michael Richardson as well as some actual chorus hooks in songs like "The Body and the Brain" -- and all of this without ever slipping into the increasingly hackneyed brand of punky emo-pop proffered by the likes of Good Charlotte. Tuneful and accessible without being a sellout move, Dark Is the Path Which Lies Before Us is a surprisingly appealing album.

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