An ever-dependable combination of despondent vocals and pared-down strings stir at the reunion of Kllo’s Simon Lam and longstanding collaborator Hamish Mitchell, electronic ambience exchanged for tumbling downtempo indie on their first full-length venture under the Armlock moniker.
Sporting the spatial depth of the Melbourne pair’s earlier projects, Trust, sets an acoustic-geared stage for narration on the psychological clouds that can gather over relationships. Spells of overthinking and rivalry reverberate through songs shorn of the elaborate and redundant, a tenderness taking root in spare yet emotionally honest songwriting.
With four albums to the duo’s collective credit, as I’lls and latterly Couture, a newfound openness can be traced in the candid introspection of Armlock, a thread that touches upon conformity to outdated notions of masculinity and the litany of facades upheld to choreograph an intended image. “Power Of A Waterfall”, case in point, speaks to the fulfilment of such roles in its oblique critique: “You’re a man / That’s what you said / Put food on the table and put sheets on the bed”.
Reflective instrumentals that layered the outfit’s previous outings are rendered with a folk bordering on hybrid country garb that peaks on tracks such as the banjo-plucking “Tabs”, a reversion to analogue modes of delivery lending further credibility to the stripped back, heart-on-sleeve sensitivity that finds a more prominent footing on the duo’s latest lo-fi stroll. “April” stretches, in similar slacker stance, through a low-key noughties daydream of drift and distortion, “Two Shots” equally capturing a subtle nostalgia reminiscent of acts such as Youth Group and The Books.
Lam and Mitchell align themselves, in this tendency, with a familiar branch of mournful indie by way of their latest incarnation; a personal departure at its most obvious in the lyrical insight it offers - the abstract substituted for an autobiographical tint, serving its sonic environment to a tee.