Trustcompany had a really good debut behind them in 2002, and after they kind of fell off the radar I was worried that they would never return. However, three years later, the band has re-emerged with a new bassist and stronger than ever before. In the tradition of their debut, “The Lonely Position Of Neutral,” “True Parallels” is a solid collection of catchy sensitive alternative/hard-rock tunes, with some songs standing out more than others.
Not much has changed, musically, with the band, hell, they even used the same producer, Don Gilmore (Linkin Park, Lo-Pro) that handled their debut. But I guess that’s a good thing. They had already pretty much established their sound on the debut, and this album just keeps running with it. Vocalist Kevin Palmer’s voice seems to be the only slight variation. I noticed his voice doesn’t sound as weak as it did at times before, which is definitely a plus. Despite his limitations, he’s very distinct and sings with conviction, something missing from a lot of modern rock out there. “Stronger,” the first single starts up the album very well, much in the same vein as “Downfall” (and if you listen closely you can hear Douglas Robb of Hoobastank in the background). However, the next track, “The War Is Over” is probably the best song out of the bunch – and is one of two tracks (“Stronger” being the other) produced by Howard Benson (Papa Roach, Hoobastank). Despite the title, it’s not politically motivated. Rather, it sets the lyrical tone for the album, a positive message set to a very catchy and layered musical backdrop. If I had to guess, I’d say they’re gonna put this song out as the second single. The rest of the album takes on the same positive vibe that the first two songs set. Whereas the first album was based around heartache and confusion, “True Parallels” seems based on the clarity that comes after realizing you can make it on your own. “Fold” and “Breaking Down” are excellent, straight-forward rock anthems, while “Without A Trace” features acoustic guitars (a first for Trustco.) and serves as a perfect wrap-up to the album (also, it bears some subtle resemblance to the outstanding Danny Lohner remix of “Hover”). The only song on here that isn’t so great, though, is “Someone Like You.” It just seems too desperate and ready for radio. Plus the lyrics leave much to be desired. If you’ve ever heard the b-side “Today,” you know that they can handle ballads a little better than this. But despite the one mistep, the other 11 songs are all well done — there’s even a secret song, on track 41 (a reference to the group’s old name, 41Down), that’s just as good as the rest of the album.
I guess what it all boils down to, is if you liked the debut, you’re gonna love this. I can’t imagine anyone who liked them before not liking this. It takes a few listens to fully absorb, but then again, so do most great albums. Plus, it’s dirt cheap in most places, so what more do I have to say to convince you?