"In their heyday, Trusty performed regularly in front of denim-and-flannel clad young people in the backs of all-ages clubs. Teens wombling and traipsing across each other bounced off of the brick black walls while the band’s pop arrangements played at punk levels. Sometime during the set when the band would cover a slow stomping version of the Beatles’ "Mean Mr. Mustard," an observer perhaps would realize that this wasn't your big brother's mohawked punk band. Was Trusty a product of those halcyon days of Panamanian invasions, or would their stuff ever endure the sands of the hourglass?
Somewhere along the line, Trusty transcended its regional status and signed with Dischord Records. The band put out a couple of albums with a different lineup and eventually appeared on the label’s box set. By the time local girl Monica Lewinsky had made the news, Trusty had taken a step back and gone on hiatus.
The older brothers from those days are weird older uncles now, and this year, we're finally getting a chance to evaluate Trusty with new ears in a different millennium with Max Recordings' release of “Sugar Smack,” a compilation containing seven lost songs from that washed-out era as well as two new songs from this sad era.
You listen to a song like "Sugar Smack" and begin wondering how a band that proudly took their inspirations from bands such as Cheap Trick and The Knack became punk pioneers of all things. “Gone” (or "All Gone" as it's listed in the liner notes) for a second reminds you of Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” done by Dinosaur Jr. Then you realize that these timeless songs were recorded during the Shrubya administration. For a band like Trusty, a band whose recording schedule is sporadic at best these days, they sure do know how to write songs for the ages.
Further proof of this lies in Sugar Smack’s other remaining songs -- the seven lost classics from the peak of Trusty’s most productive era, 1989 through 1991. You almost hesitate to put the CD into the player, slightly afraid that you’re going to get some tinny 90’s recording that sounds a lot more like the Spin Doctors than you remembered. No worry about that here. The formerly M.I.A. songs from misplaced quarter-inch reels that comprise the majority of “Sugar Smack” still sound relevant without anything sounding too dated (well, besides having been recorded on quarter-inch reels, whatever those things are.)
A song like “Mad Religion,” wandering into the Bad territory of that Epitaph band with eyes bright and alert could even have been cribbed from a Black Sabbath record played at 45 rpm. And the background vocals on “Passive Spy” hearken back to the girl groups and bubblegum artists of 60’s.
So despite what your first reaction is to “Arkansas punk band releases 15-year-old punk recordings,” be prepared for something very different. It’s a testament to Trusty that the band can get away with bleaching the mildew off of something like this and making it sound true, regardless of whatever Bush administration you may be living under at the moment." - Dry Ink (September 2006)