We’ve got the premiere of the new album Trials from Cross Country. Part of the Infinity Cat Cassette Series curated by Casey Weissbuch, Trials is a brief yet powerful album of luscious pop straight out of the garage. Recorded live in Philly to 2” tape, Trials captures exuberance and anxiety in an enthralling way that will get people listening, thinking, and feeling.
While the album clocks in at under a half an hour in total, the length of songs vary from little over a minute to almost five, yet no songs feel rushed or interminable. Instead, the variation in lengths serves to highlight the message and tone of each composition in an understated yet inescapable way. “Alone” kicks off the album and its heavy chiming arpeggios slowly ease the album into gear. When the refrain of “I’m in total control” is repeated one wonders if the message is for the listeners or the band itself as they embark on the album.
“Forwards” is the second track on the album and it captures the understated passion of the band and album. Perhaps it was the fact that the album was recorded live that gives Trials its particular verve, but the overall energy of the album and songs definitely shines through as “Forwards” creates a coherent and complete audio world in well under two minutes while leaving listeners wanting for nothing. “Dally” follows and the tune exemplifies the ease with which Cross Country can craft a pop rock song as almost punk rock undertones are felt in the instrumental bridge and the song’s slightly untraditional structure.
“Grass Stain” and “Now” are very different songs in length and and structure, but they both showcase how Cross Country can get people shimmying and shaking. “Sentinel” features guitars that skirt the edges of distortion like rusted silver that still manages to shine and “Four Eyes” vacillates between crystalline pop and jittery rock so smoothly it blurs the lines between the two. Finally, “Beams” wraps up the album with chiming tones and arpeggios that slowly wind their way around one another and the listener as the song crescendos in its soaring last moments.