Trust, though French, is not the same band which burst onto the French scene in the late 70’s. No, this ‘Trust’ arrived a decade earlier and were inspired by british prog rock.
Written by: Eric
ALBUM: Le Mutant
SERIAL: 6311 065
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: France
LINEUP: Jacky Chalard – bass * Charles Benarroch – drums * Denys Lable, Alain Markusfeld – guitars * Jean Schultheis – keyboards, vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Les Bles * 02 Joue, Joue * 03 Cite Renoir * 04 Plus Rien Ne Bouge * 05 Le Pensionnaire * 06 Hip Hip Hip * 07 Le Mammouth * 09 Easy Rider * 10 Le Mutant
Before you get too excited although French, this is not the same heavy, politically-minded Trust that later spawned monster drummer Nicko McBrain who went on to stratospheric heights with metal gods Iron Maiden.
No, this one done and dusted version of Trust arrived on the scene at the start of the 70’s decade and took on a less intimidating persona, notably influenced by British progressive rock of the day. Very little information is available on the band although there are a couple notable names who played on the set that were uncredited on the sleeve for unknown reasons.
The first is bassist Jacky Chalard from Paris group Dynastie Crisis who put out a pair of interesting LP’s combining hard rock with tasty organ-driven prog/psych around the same time as ‘Le Mutant’ arrived in shops and just spitballing here, might have been a legal problem for Chalard’s record company.
The second is Alain Markusfeld, guitarist extraordinaire responsible for a brace of dazzling late 70’s instrumental records on the always interesting Egg label. His proto-prog debut ‘Le monde en Atages’ (The world in Stages), also released in 1970 on the Barclay imprint might have been a conflict of interest as well but who really knows?
While not up to the quality or critical stature of early Francophone progressives such as Martin Circus, Moving Gelatine Plates or Triangle, ‘Le Mutant’ holds its own. It’s a tastefully orchestrated minor work that owes a huge debt to The Beatles and to a lesser extent The Moody Blues.
While the non-English vocals will turn away some, I find it only adds to the LP’s charm. Opener ‘Les bles’ (Wheat) has a melancholy chamber esque feel with ‘Eleanor Rigby’ styled strings that is quite beautiful. ‘Joue, Joue’ (Playing, Playing) uses a subtle but effective eastern motif which slowly fades in and out and gently evolves into one of the album’s strongest cuts with atmospheric organ reminiscent of French favorites Catharsis and very cool Gilmour-esque guitar soloing, no doubt courtesy of Alain Markusfeld.
The dreamy ‘Plus rien ne bouge’ (Nothing moves) is my favorite here while the title track ‘Le Mutant’ finds the band at their heaviest recalling classic Free circa ‘Fire And Water’ and closing out what is an enjoyable listen and an album that should be better known among the prog fraternity.
Trust has been reissued by the Australian label Great Barrier who also did a decent job with the 1976 Ameriprog gem from Albatross but questions remain if this is a legit label or not. I’m leaning towards the negative but an original copy will add anywhere between 100 to 400 big ones to your credit card. I’ll stick with the decidedly cheaper option, which is vinyl.