"Want More" (Album, 2004) !DSO Recommended!
Having been unexpectedly blown away by Trademark live when I first caught them in London last year, I vowed to get my hands on a copy of whatever they'd released. And this is the debut album.
If the three band members all dropped of the planet tomorrow (heaven forbid!) Trademark can rest in the knowledge that with the song Sine Love they have done more to bestow upon the world four minutes of pure electro pop beauty as the universe has ever had the good fortune to receive. And I'm including the 80s greats like OMD, Depeche Mode, Human League et al in that assessment. The shimmering, aching beauty of this romantic ballad is one of the most glorious electro pop songs I have heard in some twenty years. Oliver Charles Horton's vocals have a youthful, heartfelt honesty that is rarely heard these days. The lilting, backing composition undulates wonderfully around the charming voice and the result in simply delightful.
Stay Professional is another high point and a fine example of how to write a memorable, melodic chorus without ever upsetting the equilibrium of the surrounding verses. Just one example (of many) that Trademark are capable of creating more emotion in five or six single monophonic notes that many bands struggle for years to summon up. All Too Late is Depeche Mode. Helpless reminds me of Erasure. Hold That Thought, I Start Counting, and My Life In Stereo is The Pet Shop Boys. I don't make such direct comparisons as a lazy gibe. Far from it, it is meant as a compliment. Any of those bands would be proud to count these songs among their oeuvre.
It's the sound of Super Mario Bros meets the mood of British public information adverts from the 1970s - but with genuine emotions laid bare for all to share in. A sharp but never pretentious intellect is evident throughout. The deadpan humour is spot on and the double-meaning wordplay of some of the lyrics dazzling. It is a shame that the rest of the album isn't more consistent, but given that it's a debut, it might well be that the gestation of some of the songs has been longer than others. Perhaps the various influences that permeate Trademark's work have yet to coalesce into a coherent sound instead of being more directly reflective of them. Presently, it's still too diffuse to be entirely compelling.
However, if they can distill the remarkable, magical essence that is so clearly present in Sine Love, Stay Professional and Getting By (Underneath People's Feet) then they will truly be able to say that they have achieved their own, unique trademark sound. 8/10
Rob Dyer (November, 2005)
(early) Depeche Mode
I Start Counting
The Pet Shop Boys
Official Trademark website: http://www.trademark-online.co.uk