Produced by Tom Denney, We Are Defiance‘s Trust In Few sounds not unlike what you’d expect: it has more than its fair share of breakdowns and catchy choruses. However, beneath all of that there is more to be found if you’re willing to listen a bit closer. Ambient guitar parts and some interesting drumming give the album its own character. Vocalists Brian Calzini and Jason Neil each have certain strengths, and the aforementioned production makes everything sound huge. However, quick, short-lived songs and similar structures between tracks make the album feel a bit rushed, and the parts that make the band unique are buried a bit in the mix and easily overlooked. Overall par for the course, this record is well worth a close listen.
The album opens with distorted ambient guitars before the drums and bass join in to add some structure to the atmospheric dissonance. Though they follow a sort of breakdown pattern, the lack of vocals and chugging guitars make it so that it doesn’t quite feel like a breakdown. As a reserved lead guitar part joins the other parts in the background, the atmosphere is built even deeper, giving a good grounding for what is to come over the course of Trust In Few. Although the two-and-a-half-minute intro is a bit excessive, it leads well into the first “real” song, as it adds the missing chugging guitars to complete the breakdown formula before breaking away into the quick riffing that opens “Welcome To The Sunshine State”, where we get a first taste of Brian Calzini’s screams. The song is very short and well-worthy of a circle pit. Reminiscent of the heavier side of A Day To Remember, it’s over before it has the chance to really take off, coming in under the two minute mark, which will come to be a theme of the album.
“You’re Killin’ Me Smalls!” begins with a nice synthesized piano part that quickly dies away to the return of the same sort of sound present in the first two tracks. When the chorus hits, Jason Neil’s vocals provide a good reprieve from the heaviness and break it up with catchy melody and lyrics. Though this sort of formula might seem overdone, the lack of singing early on shows why the clean vocals are necessary; Calzini’s screams are good, but overwhelming on their own. This song reminds me a lot of something that Sleeping With Sirens might write, though perhaps a bit heavier.
Calzini shows off his screaming range in the quickly-moving opening verse of “It’s Not A Problem Unless You Make It One” before the chorus hits with one of the catchiest lines of the album: “I hope you know that we’re all laughing at you.” The second verse features a driving breakdown riff in the rhythm section combined with an interesting lead guitar line to create a different feel from what the band showed earlier. Unfortunately, the song also seems to end a bit too soon, and leaves something to be desired.
“The Weight Of The Sea” brings change to the formula of the first few songs with Neil singing the majority of the verses as Calzini takes over briefly at the end of each one and adds emphasis in the choruses by echoing some of the lines. Though the amount of singing is definitely a factor, Neil really shows off his abilities throughout this track. As the track progresses, its bridge leads into a slower portion that allows listeners to take a well-needed breath, before an excellent ending to the song. Adding a sense of variety to the beginning of the album, “The Weight Of The Sea” does a good job of providing a bit of a rest from the heavy and aggressive nature of the opening songs.
Although the opening of “To The Moon” seems to continue where the previous track left off, Neil’s soft singing over ambient guitar parts and programmed drums quickly leads to Calzini taking control. If you’ve listened to the original version of the song, you’ll find that the band has taken every aspect of the track to another level. Neil’s parts are cleaner and a bit higher in pitch, while Calzini’s screams and the instrumental parts are much heavier and a lot more in-your-face. After a brief breakdown, the chorus comes in with interesting chords and a catchy melody. Following the second chorus, another breakdown hits, featuring a fun little squeal following the chugs. All in all, this song is where the band finds their best balance between their heavy side and their catchy side.
“I’m Gonna Bury You Underground Eli” is not too unlike “To The Moon” in terms of balance, though it features a well-done bridge and breakdown combo that add a unique flavor to the track. The ambient guitar parts in the choruses give lots of room for Josh Gowing’s drum parts to shine, while still maintaining interest on their own. Though this is a very strong song, it falls victim to the same problem that seems to plague the rest of the album in that it ends before it can reach its full potential.
Quick guitar picking opens “So, Return To The King”, but it soon falls back into the same sort of aggressive instrumental and screaming texture that is present in most of the songs on the album. However, a swift change to a part not unlike the beginning of “You’re Killin’ Me Smalls!” makes for a great unexpected variation on the structure heard earlier on the album. This is another track where Neil really shows off, especially toward the end of the song when he sings, “Don’t act like you’ll forget my name.” Though the ending isn’t the strongest, the song manages to develop and feel complete in a way that most of the others do not.
While “Not Another Song About You” follows the general shape of many of the other songs on Trust In Few, it finds a nice addition in the way of guest vocals from Telle Smith (The Word Alive). Though Jason Neil has a great voice, Smith’s part gives a good contrast that gives the song something different from what the rest of the album has to offer.
“Sincerity”, the album closer, is unique in that it features no vocals from Calzini, but instead focuses solely on Neil’s vocals, as one of the biggest choruses of the album repeats a few times before dying away to the main guitar riff and a bit of ambiance that finishes the album in a manner similar to the way it began.
Featuring talented musicians, We Are Defiance are sure to gain more than a few fans with this record, though it is not without its faults. As noted before, many of the tracks seem to end before they’ve reached their full potential, as if the band recorded some good ideas and never actually went back to finish writing the song. Many of the songs follow a similar structure of mostly screamed verses leading into catchy choruses. That said, there are many little things that make each song unique and well worth listening to. Guitarists Dean Dragonas and Andi Encinas provide many interesting riffs and ambient parts when they stray from the typical breakdown chugging, and Josh Gowing’s drum parts are tight throughout the album. Though Calzini’s screams might be a bit harsh at times, Neil’s clean vocals do a great job of breaking them up and creating a balance between heavy and catchy. Overall, Trust In Few is a good start to the band’s career, and We Are Defiance will definitely be a band to keep an eye on as they continue to develop their sound and utilize their strengths to their fullest potential.