Reeks of Effort have had a chimerical year when it comes to being a label who’s doing their all to release music both integral to the DIY ethos and to provide forward thinking creativity to the small clutch of bands that reside upon its roster. The ‘Trust Fund/Joanna Gruesome’ 12” split is now another landmark chapter in the labels story this year and showcases a wholly kooky, hook laden clutch of songs that basks in lashings of the ‘devotional pop’ sound. All the while showing a high concentration of tender contrasts in light and shade from each band that is carried upon the records vinyl grooves.
Trust Fund has been no stranger to finding tape/vinyl space on a Reeks of Effort release, with Aprils Sick Of Hits Vol.2 showing Ellis Jones’ tender and somewhat emotional bruising sides to his songwriting persona. Here, though, on the new split, we see a much more charismatic, magnetic and boyish charm exuded from the music. ‘Reading The Wrappers‘ opening chimes of clean and pure guitar lines, playing out some 90’s American Indie infused melody hooks, hint to the idea that you’re about to go on an ever buoyant and excitable journey, with the notation fully confirmed when the entire band kick in, all wrapped up in thick layers of fuzz and wooden and clattery drums sounds that make you bob up and down in some preteen unselfconscious manner.
The bubblegum aesthetic is further exonerated on ‘Scared’, a song full of adventure and refreshing soundscapes, despite the theme focusing on anxiety and deep-set uncertainty. The beguiling nature of the tune is partway down to the sing-along chorus that explodes out in an unrestrained manner at the 40 second mark, full of hooks and ear worms that will have you shouting the chorus around the house for days on end after your first listen. Seeing Trust Fund like this is a wholly bracing experience compared to the emotional ride we were given on the Sick Of Hits Vol 2 tape, and even when ‘No Pressure’ swims through its halfway point in a dream-like pensive state, you’re still left feeling heady and with an intrinsic smile painted across your face.
The smile is carried on when your ears hear the euphony of what is the single of the split, Joanna Gruesome’s ‘Jerome’. The Television–esque dry clatter of guitar is certainly endearing as the voice of Alanna McArdle, whose airy and somewhat phosphorescent vocals have been lent to many other releases this year (Menace Beach for one), floats along accordingly on top of the instrumentation. Its 1 minute and 41 second thrash lends itself nicely as a segue into the much more surly, ‘Satan’, starting off with a backline of mincing feedback before starting its trudge through its contorted and fuzzed Broken Social Scene type personality.
It all ends merrily though when the split closes on the charmingly titled, ‘Coffee Implosion’, a song full of glitter that mixes the post-punk structure Joanna Gruesome have developed throughout most of their discography and the unadulterated Pop-Punk/Indie-Pop tag that the record has had since its opening movements. A convivial listen from start to finish, whilst still showing the tender sides that each band has in their own measure, means that the ‘Trust Fund/Joanna Gruesome’ split will be something keeping your turntable warm as we head on into the more cold and harsh autumn and winter months.