Album Review: Trailer Swift – Variant
Boston-based progressive post-punk band Trailer Swift are back with an emotionally diverse and intense album Variant, boldly and sincerely expressing "isolation, unfulfillment and underlying doom without spelling it out".

Album opener Variant is a minimalistic piece featuring a tremoloing guitar texture that serves as a soundbed for a vocal track. The texture itself is nervous, trembling, unsure, eerie, and the vocals are vulnerable, raw and sincere. Despite what their tongue-in-cheek name might suggest, Trailer Swift start the conversation by opening up to listeners.

Then comes the album's first single Cross My Heart. The song's vocal and instrumental parts masterfully switch between the quiet, open, sincere tone that we've already heard on Variant and extreme emotional outbursts. The walls of pulsing guitars, muscular bass and visceral vocals draw you in and then give you moments of relaxation, like ebb and flow.

Running Behind feels like a race you are desperately losing from the very first seconds. Drums are rushing like a sprinter running out of breath, guitars are speeding up like crazy. And only the vocals are confidently flying above the dynamic sonic landscape, staying above the fray. The song keeps up its desperate pace until the very end, setting you up for a moment of relaxation on Losing Grip.

There is less distortion and more melodic guitar parts in the vein of classic post-punk on Losing Grip. The song's vocal melodies also stand out as catchy and instantly memorable.The lyrics deal with the topic of losing control, but paradoxically this song feels like a moment of comfort in the album's narrative.

Racer is a robust, riff-based track perfect for headbanging at live shows (or wherever you happen to be listening to the song). It's a moment of coming back to your senses after Losing Grip's self-reflection and realization. The previous track made you face the truth: "It couldn't be clearer it won't be over soon. And you're gone forever". And now, even if that truth is bitter, you realize you have to go on: "Now is the time for the ride of your life".

Following the album's multi-layered ebb and flow pattern, Disintegrate brings a moment of peace: "There's no fear, we've burned it all away". The song's slower tempo and viscous groove sound unlike anything else on the record. The vocals on Disintegrate sound burned out and exhausted, adding a new emotional color to Variant's palette.

Way Out is a perfect closer. After the album's emotional rollercoaster it sounds hopeful and reassuring: "Cover your eyes to follow a dream. You can't deny that's a way out". But, of course, the bitterness is never gone. It's always present on the album in one way or another. And that's what makes Variant nuanced instead of straightforward and gives its emotional highs and lows and undeniable depth.