Twenty One Pilots released its fifth studio album, “Trench,” on October 5, and once again, Josh Dun and Tyler Joseph created a set list of discombobulated genres with lyrics that reflect deep societal issues.
According to the alternative-rap duo, “Trench” is a continuation of the 2015 album “Blurryface.” What was once just a character has fleshed out into an entire world of not just who Blurryface is, but who he has become over the course of the band’s short hiatus.
In an interview with Beats 1, Joseph told Zane Lowe that the character Blurryface represented the version of himself that he despised, possibly the depression he has written about on this album, and the idea of “Trench” is the decision to separate himself from Blurryface.
“There are certain places where (Blurryface) has jurisdiction, and if I can try to stay away from those places, then he starts to lose a little more of a grip of me, and that’s what ‘Trench’ was,” Joseph said.
“Trench” starts out strong with the first track “Jumpsuit,” and it gives a bold beginning to an album that can be a bit incohesive, genre-wise. With a unique groove comparable to indie bands like The Black Keys and Fitz and the Tantrums, this track excels in showing how the duo has broadened its scope with this album.
Another pleasant surprise is the quality of “Leave The City.” The vocals are clean, the piano melody is graceful and the synthesizer in the background doesn’t clog the song with a bad attempt at a futuristic sound. The buildup at the end is an effective way to close the album as well.
The most stellar song on this album is “Chlorine,” a menacing and slow-burning track that showcases Joseph’s vocal ability. Fans on multiple platforms have been debating the meaning of the song, with theories varying from believing the chlorine is “cleansing the soul” to those comparing the poisonous aspect of the chemical to Joseph’s relationship with his wife.
On the other hand, “Levitate” struggles to gain ground. At a little over two minutes of a monotone rap with uber-repetitive beats and background sounds, this track is easy to tune out. It ends so abruptly that there’s little to no resolution, leaving listeners more confused than satisfied.
“Nico And The Niners” is a song that most reflects the style of “Blurryface.” Like “Levitate,” the repetitive lyrics make this song forgettable, and the strange reggae beat it tries to emulate doesn’t work.
Overall, “Trench” shows massive growth in maturity for Twenty One Pilots. It lacks the redundancy of “Blurryface” and takes a huge step toward originality. While it’s not revolutionary, “Trench” is a decent anthology that gives the band’s die-hard fans the new content they want, while still staying true to the band’s goal to generate conversation on mental health, addiction and suicide prevention.