REVIEW: Twenty One Pilots’ latest album ‘Trench’ features best sound yet, exceptional lyrics

Trench cover

Trench cover

Alex Novak

Twenty One Pilots’ fifth studio album, “Trench,” offers the best sound the band has recorded yet, with tremendous attention to details.

The depth of the band’s sound — Josh Dun’s drums, along with Tyler Joseph’s bass and piano performances — leaves an immense impact on the listener. The complexity of their chemistry creates a sound that unravels perfectly.

“Trench” truly captures the band’s unique versatility, which continues to be genre-bending as well as showcases its artistry in full bloom as the album tells its story.

Following a year-long hiatus from the music industry, the band members returned to the public scene on July 6 with a message to their email subscribers after a few months of cryptic messages on their official website.

The band would make its return official on July 11 with the release of the music video for a rock song, “Jumpsuit,” and audio for another new reggae-infused pop track, called “Nico And The Niners.”

The website included images that revealed the setting of the band’s new music video. When stitched together, the images — several still, important scenes as well as numerous letters from a character named Clancy — show the band trapped in the fictional city of Dema by a group of oppressive bishops.

“It looks like there’s some people that have stuck around,” Dun said in an interview with Hanuman Welch on Beats 1 regarding the band’s fanbase after its long absence. “Those are the people we want around, and those are the people that mean a ton to us,” 

After the worldwide commercial success of “Blurryface,” the band’s fourth album, in 2015, the group took a year off from its time in the limelight to recharge and focus on crafting more noteworthy work.

As a result, the new album is, in a way, a direct sequel to its previous album, which centered around the titular character. This character appears in the band’s music videos for “Trench” as a member of Dema’s hierarchy, and it represented lead vocalist Joseph’s most challenging insecurities.

Lyrically, the “The Hype,” which showcases the pop sound of this album at its best, embodies this follow-up to “Blurryface” most. It encourages creativity, uniqueness and being comfortable with one’s self, which can certainly be a relatable and inspiring song to many listeners.

“Bandito” further enables the album’s expressive creation of the fictional world of Dema and the group of “banditos” in the city of Trench that rebels against the tyranny in the music videos. The song is one of the more beautiful offerings on the album.

The true highlight of the album is found in “Chlorine.” With clear influences of pop in its sound, the song stands out for its lyrical and instrumental imagery.

Other singles, such as “My Blood” and “Levitate,” directly showcase the vocal talents of Joseph, who has an exceptional falsetto and signature poetry-inspired rap talent.

“Pet Cheetah” is sure to have the hit potential of “Stressed Out” with a mention of how much the band’s fans mean to the group and a beat primed to go mainstream.

“For you, I’d go write a slick song just to show you the world,” Joseph sings on a song dedicated to his wife, called “Smithereens.” In “Legend,” he honors his recently deceased grandfather, who he regarded as an inspiration and very close friend.

The album concludes with “Leave the City,” which laments this record’s thoughts have reached an ending, but the band is no longer alone. Instead, it’s joined by fans, listeners and friends. “Trench” tells an impressive, lyrical story and provides anthemic artistry in its sound.

The band will embark on the worldwide Bandito Tour starting Oct. 16. The band will stop in Cleveland a week in, and it will play a show in their hometown of Columbus. 

Alex Novak is an entertainment reviewer. Contact him at [email protected].