ALBUM REVIEW : Men I Trust - Oncle Jazz
The Quebec based band, Men I Trust, is comprised of three band members Jessy, Dragos, and Emma. Jessy and Dragos had started the group back in 2014 with some local and online success but it wasn’t until Emma joined the group around late 2015-early 2016 when things really started to shape. Oncle Jazz is the byproduct of Men I Trust’s careful deliberation and craftsmanship when it comes to creating a body of work.
It is apparent based on their release strategy they place importance not necessarily per se on the finer points of song production, but rather learning to balance their strengths and weaknesses as developing artists to release a body of work which has a coherent message, sound, and aesthetic. This aesthetic is boldly prevalent in the second track from the album, or the last single before its release “Norton Commander (All We Need)”. Like layers of a cake, a cool breeze of synths is complemented by the rubber inflection of bass grooves, topped with the airy intonations of Emma’s vocals. The cherry on top is the infectious refrain that is harmonized by wet flanger guitar licks as Emma states “It’s all we need” possibly referencing the connection she shares to this possible lover whom she seems to speak to in the track. This track is what Men I Trust does best, creating hypnotic, buttery smooth, bass-driven sonic passages, which rests themselves onto the eardrum like a significant other rests their head on your shoulder. Sweet, serene, and at its best, pure bliss. Tracks like “Days Go By” continue the momentum of cool achieved by the previous song, yet it dives even deeper into hypnosis with a guitar lazily wailing over the track during the outro. Other tracks like “Tailwhip” and “Say Can You Hear” opt for faster tempos, but still manage to be subdued yet quite danceable.
The biggest draw to this album is ultimately its downfall as well. Because of the dreamy, nostalgic coherence of Men I Trust’s music, during the back half of the album, the songs begin to blend into each other, doing little to stand out or differentiate. I would write here some tracks which came up short but, at the time of this review, I couldn't parse together which of the low points were more or less weak (a testament to the downsides of consistency). Fortunately, near the end of the album, it picks up right where the energy dropped. We all deserve the feeling of pure bliss and intoxicating warmth provided by “You Deserve This” hovering synths and affectionate baseline.
To close, Men I Trust’s newfound sound following the group’s solidification as a three-member band proves to be a boom stage for them creatively. Placing emphasis on visual components, aesthetic, and consistency, this allows Men I Trust to be unique in brand identification, all while tinkering behind the scenes at the technical sides of musical knowledge. This is a gorgeously dreamy album with some growing pains, but once it is over, you’ll find yourself coming back to it much like one revisits a favorite movie, observing and taking a little more away from every sitting.