I’ve been getting acquainted with Joe Lington’s music quite recently, so the opportunity to explore his back catalogue a bit is something to be relished. An artist’s musical history can prove fascinating, as it is often only with hindsight that you can see the creative kernels of what would later grow into their signature style.
Having played, absorbed and explored more recent releases such as Black Desire and WTPA, I was aware that Lington was an artist who was making serious inroads into building a new, mature and sonically knowledgeable style of R&B. And although you can see the roots of that sound Trust, it is a much more straight forward album.
That said, you can make out the outline of the sonic footprint we hear in his music today. I Gotta Be With You sees him blurring the lines between R&B and acoustic pop, an upbeat and buoyant slice of gentle clubland sass; Africa shows that he was always keen to experiment with the blending of sounds from that continent and more Western dance sounds and Elle mixes rock moves with funky grooves. And between all that is a fine array of songs. More than fine, much more and songs perfect for where Joe Lington was at that point in his sonic journey.
When viewed chronologically, Trust is the perfect stepping stone to the music he is making today. You can see his ideas blooming, evolving and taking hold. Anyone would be proud to have made an album like this, but not everyone would have gone on to develop those sounds into the sort of music that Joe Lington is making today.
Call it a historical document. Call it a window into an artist in progress. Call it a neat comparison between then and now. But don’t forget to call it what it is—a great album.