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Men I Trust – “Oncle Jazz” Review

The dream pop trio, Men I Trust, just released their newest album this past month: Oncle Jazz. At twenty-four tracks, Oncle Jazz is a behemoth of a record, however, many of the songs will prove familiar to listeners, as much of the record is comprised of singles previously released over the years. As a band that isn’t signed to any label and produces and releases on their own accord, Men I Trust’s slow-burning rise to mainstream indie pop might be a surprise to those unfamiliar with them. The four year gap between albums (besides single releases) makes Oncle Jazz an insanely exciting release.

Men I Trust is the definition of easy listening for the indie-trained ear, and Oncle Jazz is a complete representation of that. The album begins with vocalist and guitarist Emma Proulx introducing the album, followed by a minute of elevator music-esque instrumentals, with the more lyric-heavy tracks following. Older singles off the album, such as the beat-heavy “Tailwhip” and groovy “Numb,” as well as the new songs, give a more familiar feel to listeners. Of the fresher cuts, my personal favorites have to be “All Night” and “Pines.”

Some of their new songs, like “Slap Pie” and “Fiero GT,” explore heavier, energetic instrumentals in terms of bass and guitar, with quicker tempos as opposed to their slower, more somber tracks like “Dorian” and “Something in the Water.”

Oncle Jazz concludes with a reprise of “Tailwhip” called “Tailwhip Revisited,” and an instrumental track, “Poplar Tree.” “Tailwhip Revisited” is purely instrumental, taking all of the upbeat and notable elements of “Tailwhip,” and forming it into a song that feels more complete, with piano harmonies backing the main melody and bass, as well as extending the length of the song a bit more.

“Poplar Tree” has none of the electropop elements present in the previous tracks, and is purely piano. The song is arpeggio-heavy, with many repetitions of the melody, but it ends with a long sustain on the piano.

This album makes up for the lack of bigger releases over the years, with the unique combination of electronically-produced sounds, bass and guitar giving way to the dream pop sound of Men I Trust that everyone loves. The older singles add a nice touch to the album, sticking more familiar sounds in-between the new tracks. Dreamy lyrics inspired by nature sung by the breathy Emma Proulx make for a smooth and jazzy sound unique to the group.

Overall, I really enjoyed Oncle Jazz, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Jay Som, Clairo, Vansire, Sports, and the like. Although it runs past an hour and is longer than most albums, it’s definitely great to listen to when you’re trying to relax, if you need an album for a long drive, if you’re riding the bus, or for any occasion, really.

Favorites: “Norton Commander (Album V)”, “All Night,” ”Pines,” “Tailwhip Revisited”

Rating: 8/10

Review By: Sarah Dowdy