Coyly peeking out from under her dark, heavy fringe, the German twenty-nine-year-old Trost initially intrigues thanks to her sharp, playful electro infused with Old World mystery. But as she slinks by in an uber-cool cloud of muffled jazz percussion, ’60s B-movie guitar and doll-like detached vocals delivered in three languages, her underdeveloped songwriting and lack of genuine emotion slowly kill the stylish mood. However alluring, Trust Me is ultimately unsatisfying.
Best known as half of electro-punk duo Cobra Killer, Annika Line Trost recorded the follow-up to her 2002 solo debut in Australia and Berlin. Relaxing her typically jittery tempos and drum tracks while preserving her retro spy-film fetish, she aims for dark introspection on her sophomore album, and she gets help from Tom Carlyion and Conrad Standlish of the Devastations and from Bad Seed Thomas Wydler.
Opener “Cowboy” is appealing at first with its crackling, lo-fi backdrop, shimmering high-hat and all-German lyrics minus the flirtatious title word, but it goes nowhere sonically or sentimentally. Similarly, first single “In Diesem Raum” charms with its vintage pop sheen, but the same simple, Meg White drum pattern and trashy guitar riff that start the song also end it. Two Will Oldham covers seem particularly poignant because Trost’s own compositions are consistently built around one small, if smart, idea that often can’t sustain more than three minutes of music. And it can’t hurt that bad if it fades away in less time.
Ironically, everything works on “I Was Wrong.” The arresting waltz employs an insightful, Winehouseian lyrical motif — “Keeping your toothbrush is wrong, quitting detox was wrong, to still love you is wrong” — while rising into hysteria and then drifting into despondency as staccato, ascending piano arpeggios, shuffling beats and plucked strings balance the regret. It’s one of Trust Me’s many jazz-tinged, retro electro tracks to create an alluring aura, but it’s one of the few in which Trost shakes her chic aloofness and superficial songwriting to actually follow through.