Twenty One Pilots have been teasing fans and leaving clues to new material ever since this time last year when their 12 month hiatus first kicked in. However, now the wait is finally over and fans can put their theories to bed. What with a new album, ‘Trench’, set to arrive in October (via Fueled By Ramen) and with not one, but two brand new singles out – ‘Jumpsuit’ and ‘Nico And The Ninners’. So let’s get stuck in to it!
First off, ‘Jumpsuit’. This is the most rock-driven track the band has ever released. While the dry and upfront drum grooves from Josh Dun are locked-in air-tight, the rumbling, fuzzy bass lines and the rollicking guitar riffs are a far cry from what we’ve heard of Twenty One Pilots until now. (Even with the electronics and vocal effects still being used). That stylistic chameleon approach is what makes this band stick out so well, and that’s once again evident here with this fresh new track. All ending with a brief yet effective chaotic rock section full of Tyler Joseph’s emotionally-impassioned screams like all of the best quintessential Twenty One Pilots tunes.
As for the visuals of ‘Jumpsuit’, this is where the real fun begins. In the music video for ‘Heavydirtysoul’ from February 2017, we saw Tyler sitting in the backseat of a black car slowly getting pulled apart and catching fire as it speeds down a cold, snowy highway. The burnt-out and destroyed shell of said car returns for this new clip in a similar setting minus the snow; a ‘phoenix rising from the smoldering ashes’ kind of deal, linking up the past and the present of Twenty One Pilots. So of course, it’s a very personal release for the duo – the burnt-out car being incredibly symbolic of their band’s energy levels (or lack thereof). Oh, and with the song and video’s opening monologue of “We’ve been here the whole time. You were asleep. Time to wake up.”, I don’t think this is addressed to the fans. But rather to Tyler himself (or the band), in a sort of “trapped within a dream” state. As per the end of the clip’s narrative shots showing the vocalist dreaming away in deep sleep. Yet it goes deeper than that, too.
2015’s ‘Blurryface’, other than being a fuckin’ great record that blew the pair up in terms of success and popularity, was also heavily characterized by the colour red in the promos. So in the music video for ‘Jumpsuit’, when we see this supposedly villainous, Reaper-esque figure donned in red garbs and having blackish, ash-smeared hands and fingers, much like the kind Tyler wore on his hands and neck during their last record’s phase, the metaphor for their past becomes so apt. Also indicating to me that perhaps the success of their last LP put the band through personal hell in terms of professional pressure and workload, and this is song/video/album is their hopeful statement of release from that period; as the heavy use of contrastive yellow here and the song’s title of ‘jumpsuit’ – often a protective garment – all seem to suggest. That, and the fact that this record is called ‘Trench‘. Maybe implying that, at some point last year or in 2015/2016, Tyler and Josh were fighting something/someone “on-ground”; being right down there in the shit, so to speak.
On top of all that, though, the film clip is not only really well shot (kudos to director Andrew Donoho), but the track and video themselves have also been edited and cut together perfectly. Making it all the more engrossing of an experience. Have a look and listen to ‘Jumpsuit’ below! (Here’s hoping the band really pull-through with whatever story they’re trying to tell here. Cause I’m still salty that My Chemical Romance’s ‘Danger Days’ never got the full fleshing-out it needed and deserved).
Cool, that’s the good stuff. Now onto the bad.
Technically speaking, the American duo’s silence ended in April with the band’s ARG, ‘DEMAORG’, revealing these cryptic hints and entries from a fictional person named ‘Clancy’; clearly a character of Tyler’s who will most likely play a vital role in this new album’s “narrative”, involving a “tower of darkness” and this company/entity known as ‘Dema’. (No, not that Dema). What that ARG started before is bound to unfold fully within the lyrics and following audio-visual accompaniments of Twenty One Pilot’s newest LP. Digging that concept deeper is the other new track, ‘Nico And The Ninners‘, which was released alongside ‘Jumpsuit‘ yesterday.
While I feel it’s got more to do with the lyrical concepts of this new LP – it references the other single, “East Is Up” from their 2017 clues, and this ‘Dema’ group (“Dema don’t control us)” – and probably needs to be heard in the full context of the record, it really is the weakest of the pair. Like, the drop in quality between the two is quite scary. ‘Nico And The Ninners‘ is a quieter, softer and darker hip-hop/reggae infused track, with a wildly different energy to that of the pumping rock of ‘Jumpsuit‘. Which is fine, in theory, but it all just feels like a bastardized version of older ‘Blurryface‘ songs; like these were B-side ideas left over from that album’s sessions. Which is not what I personally enjoy from Twenty One Pilots; their variety and re-envisioning of sound upon each new record easily being one of their strongest calling-cards.
So, fingers crossed that there are different sounds and more experimental vibes to be had from the wider whole of ‘Trench‘. Which, honestly, I’m still pretty fucking keen for!
‘Trench’ is out October 5th through Fueled By Ramen. Have a look at their 2018 Australian tour dates below!
Friday December 7th – Perth Arena, Perth Monday
December 10th – Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Adelaide Thursday
December 13th – Rod Laver Area, Melbourne Sunday
December 16th – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney Tuesday
December 18th – Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane