“Welcome back to Trench.” These are the first words ringing through Twenty One Pilots’ new album entitled “Clancy” released May 24, 2024. A reference to their highly esteemed 2018 concept project, this phrase reminds the listener that they are in for yet another experimental, story-based album. This opening track entitled “Overcompensate” was the lead single for the project and featured punchy drums and melodies which set the tone for a sonically great album. Track #2 on the project entitled “Next Semester” was the second single and a clear hit. 
Growing up with the band, I can not remember a time that the frontman, Tyler Joseph, was this open about his struggles with mental health. Under this inspiring level of raw songwriting, the band created a powerful instrumental with highlights of skilled drumming by Josh Dun. The slow build to the song’s finale makes the crying yell of “Hey kid, get out of the road!” hold so much powerful emotion and weight. Track #8, “Lavish”, is maybe one of the most heavily-produced tracks I can recall in the band’s discography. The instrumentals are lush and opulent much like the lyrics’ subject matter. The song’s themes of wealth and power drip from the track in an almost cinematic manner. While the song’s second verse may be dividing for critics due to its semi-joking manner and a strange reference to proctologists, it can not be debated that this song has a well-crafted vibe and will be a fan favorite. The album’s closer is an uncharacteristically long track called “Paladin Strait” with an infectious beat and melody that is sure to hook listeners before it builds into a beautiful sweeping score. Almost out of nowhere the music cuts off and only the chirps of birds can be heard. Tyler comes back in with a ukulele to sing a verse deeply set in the Trench lore the band has been building for the better part of a decade. Before he can finish, a deep voice cuts him off and starts to deliver an ominous ending to the album, clueing listeners into the future of the band’s complex story-telling. 
This album’s greatest strength is its ability to be so lore-based, but also enjoyable to the average listener. Outside of the intense Trench story that is rumored to have started all the way back in the “Blurryface” era of 2015, every song on this album has a solid sound that I believe signals a bright future for the band. While it would be impossible to dissect every song here, they all have great qualities and produce a very cohesive project. As the band embarks on their upcoming world tour, I believe this album will age gracefully and mark a new era and sound for the duo. As someone whose teenage years were dominated musically by this group, I am happy to report that “Clancy” is a triumph for Tyler and Josh.
- Thomas Hagan

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