Album Review – Eight by Trademark Issues (2022) (Self Released)
Trademark Issues is the ‘remote lockdown project’ of Gary Hornseth and Mitch Armbruster, whose debut It Must Be Something album (September 2020) and the follow up, The Way It Will Be (July 2021) had me grasping at on-line thesaurus (I wonder if the plural of thesaurus is thesauraii …I hope so) for various derivatives of the word “cool”.
Maybe its my age, or perhaps my lack of erudition, but no other word really fits an act who trawl the recesses of the best of 80s twee and indie-pop for inference, yet still manage to augment the end product with an almost indefinable modernity.
Eight‘s most vibrant tracks are separated by jangly nuance. Jacques Tati is Standing Hands on Hips and That Being Said are all chiming riffs juxtaposed against a Tullycraft sense of twee, that has that slight, snidey brattish feel to it.
Similarly the dynamism of the superlative stand out, Gustav Flies and Public Domain Apology are the best The Pastels tracks that Stephen McRobbie never quite penned, whereas the C86 essence continues in a Shot in the Dark track that reduces the tempo and slides into more laconic, BMX Bandits style, jangly indie-pop climes.
Less retro inflected tracks such as Overseas, Super-Sunny Summer Day and Piece of Cake, all follow the barely discernible tempos of Big Thiefor Elliott Smith and shine lo-fi jangled riffs through faux malaise. All are among the most beautiful tracks on the album and provide a subdued ying to an often hectic yang. A balance to the release, if you will.
This duo go from strength to strength and remain totally beguiling (I know they love such a term !).