Although Unknown to the Unknown boasts a tradition of nonconformity, calling DJ Haus and his cronies iconoclasts wouldn't be entirely correct; the odd—and sometimes jarring—aesthetics in the label's album art and videos drip with nostalgic pop-culture references, and its musical output has paid homage to—and, in some cases, revitalized—a number of obscure or moribund genres. UTTU's latest single, "Trust," by East London's Palace, is no different in that respect, as it provides a reverent yet interestingly modern twist on grime-tinged garage.
Those familiar with Palace may remember last year's "Mandy" single, also delivered via UTTU. Fans of the sounds therein might be pleased to discover that "Trust" carries on in a similarly gritty manner, although it's a bit subdued in comparison. The song's crisp, skittering hi-hat and snare-driven garage rhythms give it a solid, firmly planted groove that holds even as the grimy, foreboding lead swivels malevolently. At first listen, the mischievous vibes of "Trust" seem as though they would have been an excellent fit for UTTU's Tales From the Darkside Halloween comp, but the track seems to benefit from having been released as a standalone single—like many other UTTU offerings, it's most potent in a short burst.
The two other cuts on the record, remixes by labelmates 5kinandbone5 and Mista Men, pick up where Palace's original left off, but quickly veer off into foreign territory—which is both good and bad. The former starts off with sparse percussion and bass that slowly creeps into a more full-bodied sound, but the fast-paced energy from the original doesn't seem to be present in this rework, and Palace's sounds don't readily lend themselves to this sort of reinterpretation. That's not to say that 5kinandbone5 does a terrible job; the remix just seems average in comparison to Mista Men's, which imbues Palace's eski sounds with the duo's characteristic garage-meets-house swing with catchy results. But even this rework—as danceable as it is—can seem a bit formulaic for Mista Men after repeated listens.
Taken as a whole, the excellent "Trust" and its associated remixes present a solid offering on UTTU's part, and also showcase the wide breadth of sound that the label has at its disposal. However, the so-so nature of those remixes ultimately ensures that the release doesn't feel like much more than that.