Album review: 'Trench' by Twenty One Pilots

Lindsey Lanham | Editor-in-Chief

Courtesy Variety

Ever since the breakout success of indie-pop-rap duo, Twenty One Pilots, fans have dedicated themselves to the group almost religiously. Twenty One Pilots went from headlining small clubs to selling out arenas with the release of their third album, “Blurryface.”

Right at the height of their career, TOP went MIA for almost two years.

Then, this past summer, TOP released two new singles along with the announcement that their latest album will be released in September. “Trench” dropped on Sept. 5, and with it brought a new era for the band.

Twenty One Pilots is made up of lead singer and lyricist Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun. The duo released their first full-length album in 2009. It was followed by “Regional at Best” (2011), “Vessel” (2013), then “Blurryface” (2015) and now “Trench.”

Overall, “Trench” is more mellow than past releases. It stays repetitive, not as intense and less metaphorical than their last three albums. Everything feels more surface level on the album. It isn’t experimental, which leaves “Trench” feeling weak and a little underwhelming.

This doesn’t mean that “Trench” is a flop, though. With tracks like “Jumpsuit,” “Nico and the Niners” and “Morph,” the album still has some finer moments.

The album's leading track, “Jumpsuit”, is a rock heavy song, straying away from the typical electro-pop TOP sound. The lyrics still remain metaphorical and grim as Joseph calls out “Jumpsuit, cover me.” The song carries on about a minute too long as it takes a strange bridge where Joseph croons “If you need anyone / I’ll stop my plans.” But then it picks back up again before concluding and leading into next track, “Levitate.”

“Morph” is one of the best songs off the album. Joseph sings about literally morphing to someone else in an effort to remain his own person. Hayley Williams even gave the song a shout out on Twitter, tweeting “that Morph chorus tho,” tagging the band.

“Chlorine” is by far the catchiest song on the album but still comes at the cost of the cringiest line. Joseph sings the hook, “Sippin’ on straight chlorine / Let the vibes slide over me,” in a way that gets stuck in your head for hours to come. And while the first three minutes of the song are upbeat and catchy, the last two minutes keep the song going on longer than necessary.

Songs like “Neon Gravestones,” “The Hype” and “Pet Cheetah” get lost in the mix. “Levitate” doesn’t give the listener a chorus to hang on to, and leaves Joseph mumbling and a little incoherent.

“Trench” is a couple of songs too long. Even though it’s not their best album, Twenty One Pilots have furthered solidified their spot in the alt music world. The album has high points that make the album worth a good listen or two. “Trench” proves that even at their weakest Twenty One Pilots are still pretty strong.

Twenty One Pilots are touring next year and will be making their stop in Charlottesville on June 9, 2019.