Twenty One Pilots Reach New Depths with New Album, Trench

Trench is an apt name for an album that has seemingly endless depth; it covers as many genres as it is possible to cover in 14 tracks. Trench is vast; acting not as one album, but two.

The first, a brilliantly chaotic and compelling concept album. Regular lyric-drops of jumpsuits and ‘Nico’ allude to a running narrative, of which Twenty One Pilots provide scarce details. It is clear which songs these are, as they carry a darker, more sinister emotive quality. The rap onslaught on ‘Levitate’ feels dirty in the best possible way, whilst the swirling arena rock of ‘Jumpsuit’ is full of powerful ferocity, with strained and vulnerable vocals burning into Tyler Joseph vocals in the final chorus.

The second ‘album’ is more an eclectic mix of singles that break up the metanarrative. That is not to say that they are B-sides, but some of the strongest offers on the record. ‘Smithereens’ is an adorable and relaxed ode to Joseph’s wife, whereas ‘Chlorine’ exemplifies the notably common chasm between the band’s beat and the lyrical content. The running theme of self-destruction shines through when the Ohio duo can make “sippin’ on straight chlorine” something you want to join in with.

This theme of self-destruction runs thick on the album’s strongest emotional powerhouse, ‘Neon Gravestones’. A harrowing piano melody breaks into a bass-heavy monologue, the entire track a scathing assault on suicide glorification: “I could use the streams and extra conversations / I could give up, and boost up my reputation.”

Trench goes a step further than 2015’s massive Blurryface. Twenty One Pilots manage to mix fun and funerals like no other; causing smiles, tears, clenched fists and back again. There isn’t time to get bored. As per the strength of Twenty One Pilots, every tune on Trench excels alone, but together provides an incredible collection.

Tom Poole