The Destroyer Part I
By Erin Hoagg
Five years since Robert Alfons' last full length album Joyland, TR/ST is back with their highly anticipated album The Destroyer -1.
Polished and refined in a bright, fresh-sodder kind of way, Alfons has returned to fix your synth and make it better then when you first bought it.
Shiny metal there to mend your broken connections. Ripe with emotion, part one of The Destroyer, is an welcome release; careful and patient, thought through, yet not over-produced.
Recorded in a farmhouse in southern Ontario and at Robert Alfons' new home base in L.A.,
Alfons joins forces once again with Maya Postepski, Alfons' collaborator on the 2012 Juno Award-nominated debut TRST, who co-wrote and co-produced six of the album’s songs,
along with co-producers Lars Stalfors and Damian Taylor, who helped to further refine the album’s sound.
“The environment I work in has always guided me. But it took a long time
to submit to the kind of patience these songs were asking of me.
I was getting glimpses of what I wanted to achieve with the album,” he says.
“But it wasn’t feeling cohesive; things weren’t aligning in a clear direction.” “My first two records were put out so close to one another that I think
of them as one. They just poured out of me.
“It was so much more careful. I found myself seeking spaces of absolute quiet; I needed them in order to hear what was going on inside.”
The Destroyer - 1 is texturally rich and exciting sonically, it’s pacing intentional. Space is there when it needs to be, synths glimmer, bass deep and pulsing; best listened to loudly on nice monitors, or noise cancelling headphones, where you can fully appreciate the technical
prowess of Alfons and his collaborators.
Maya Postepski commented: "It was a nice process to take our time together and send ideas to each other.
We live on opposite sides of the world (LA, Brussels). So it was like a slow organic process" . "Then I went to work with Robert in LA on several different occasions.
We spent a lot of time cooking, going for walks outdoors, taking drives
It is a very emotional album for both of us". Maya says.
The attention to detail is tangible, though above all else, the album is sincere. Like TR/ST’s earlier work, the album is overall moody and dark. Alfons' signature baritone and occasional
(if not surprising) falsetto compliments haunting compositions of metallic synths,
stabbing baselines, tumbling harps, and machine driven beats.
Riding the line between pop and experimental, The Destroyer - 1 seamlessly transitions from straight forward electronic, sober raw emotion, and heavy industrial. Right out of the gates,
the first track off of The Destroyer - 1, “Colossal” contrasts hope and sorrow; cinematic intro followed by a chorus that feels contemplative and accepting -
“love diffused, connected all to you.”
TR/ST - Colossal
The second song on the album “Gone” is straight forward pop; a catchy and stompy track,
it’s a song you can remember and sing along to before the end of the track, and definitely
the second time around.
“Unbleached” is a stand out. Dance-y and exciting, with pulsing off beat high hats, carefully
placed harps, layered vocals and incredible attention to detail, it is a Shazam worthy hit.
Sexy with a little cheek; it is impossible not to dance to. “Bicep” is as strong as you would expect
it to be, determined and pounding, with vocals that start with a whisper, before they belt.
The follow up “Grouch” has a more industrial sound, with a determined four on the floor, vocals to the forefront Alfons echoing
“life and all it’s lows, darkness no ones knows.”
TR/ST - Grouch
“Poorly Coward” has a subtle industrial sound, with heavily delayed snare, affected vocals mimicking the unease of a raw angry bassline, entwined with heavy hits of varying percussive
stabs and a siren sound.
“Control me” is more straight forward - synths following the vocal lead - a happier sound for TR/ST. Heartfelt, Alfons sings of sentiment, the start of romance, feeling controlled.
“From the very start, a sentimental call.”
It is spacious, winding pad synths and bright bells makes it a peaceful listen.
TR/ST - Control Me
“Wake With”, the closer on the first half of The Destroyer - 1, is a calmer, romantic highlight. Featuring an addicting bossa nova vocal rhythm, it is a welcome and wistful come down from
the pop-y and industrial tracks of the album, finishing strong and memorable.
The Destroyer - 1 is the first half of the 16 track album, the second installment of 8 tracks,
The Destroyer - 2 coming in November 2019 via Grouch/House Arrest.
04/20 - St. Petersburg, RU MOD - Upgraded
04/21 - Moscow, RU | Aglomerat - Upgraded
04/26 - Toronto, ON | Phoenix Concert Theatre
04/27 - Montreal, QC | Corona Theatre
05/01 - Boston, MA | Brighton Music Hall
05/02 - Brooklyn, NY | Elsewhere^
05/03 - Brooklyn, NY | Elsewhere - SOLD OUT
05/04 - Philadelphia. PA | Underground Arts
05/05 - Washington, DC | U Street Music Hall
05/09 - Detroit, MI | El Club
05/10 - Chicago, IL | Lincoln Hall
05/11 - Minneapolis, MN | Fine Line Music Cafe
05/14 - Portland, OR | Wonder Ballroom
05/15 - Seattle, WA | Neumos
05/17 - San Francisco, CA | Great American Music Hall
05/18 - Los Angeles, CA | The Fonda Theatre - SOLD OUT
06/07-09 - Austin, TX | Austin Terror Fest
^second show added
B I Z Z A R R E
TR/ST – The Destroyer - 1