Trench, Twenty One Pilots’ fifth album, experienced what might be called some unprecedented troubles along the way during its release, specifically in terms of a leak. Nevertheless, following its official release, fans will have been delighted to notice that it retains much of the charm associated with the rest of their discography.
The songs continue to change in tempo and sound halfway through; as is a staple of the band. This is particularly highlighted in tracks such as ‘Chlorine’, with a switch from the chorus to a faster, slightly more cheerful rapping verse. Similarly, ‘The Hype’ moves to the use of the ukulele now often associated with Twenty One Pilots due to its prominence in the band’s sound.
This is not to say that the album is without its flaws. Tyler Joseph’s penchant for bizarre lyrics is out in full force, particularly in ‘Pet Cheetah’, where he states that he has “got a pet cheetah down in [his] basement”. Despite the meanings that have been attached to this (regarding Joseph’s studio being in his basement) it can be quite jarring to hear, especially given the following lines in which he announces that he would name the animal Jason Statham.
Nonetheless, the links between the songs which are intended to make up the narrative regarding the fictional city of Dema are pleasing to hear, particularly in contrast to each other. The singles ‘Jumpsuit’ and ‘Nico And The Niners’ both feature references to jumpsuits, whilst the latter is echoed in the beautiful piano-driven closer ‘Leave The City’. The mentions of fire allow for a cohesive link which is particularly pleasing in terms of the conceptual story of the album.
The notable exception to the narrative is ‘Smithereens’, a song written by Joseph for his wife. Whilst its position near the centre of the album is slightly strange, the track is oddly endearing in its suggestion that Joseph felt that he could not release the album without a song for his spouse.
All in all, the album is coherent in the narrative it aims to create, and variable in the sounds it produces. In spite of this, its sound is still definitively that of Twenty One Pilots. The record is a pleasing listen, from the energy of ‘Jumpsuit’ to the relaxed nature of ‘Neon Gravestones’, and is definitely worth at least one listen; in fact, more is encouraged.