- Sometime in the past decade, Trim fell out with the grime scene. If you didn't know this already, then a listen through 1-800-Dinosaur Presents Trim should clue you in. Picking his way between meditative cymbal crashes on Airhead-produced opener "Stretch," he brags, "I don't think the scene coulda held my weight / They want me to have some respect like / Know my place / Fuck 'em." On "Waco," a muscular stepper's rhythm, he complains of his fame-obsessed peers: "They don't wanna see me surface / Their beef's based on who runs the furthest." And on "No Manners": "They call me fam but / We ain't related / Fuck the money / I ain't running around kissing and chasing it."
There wouldn't be anything wrong with this if Trim hadn't been picking this wound since at least 2011. It was other artists' shots at the charts at the turn of the decade that caused Trim—a prickly character with an unusual aesthetic sense—to disconnect from the scene. He became a sort of grime Sensational, collaborating across the electronic music spectrum with the likes of Mumdance, Dro Carey, Riva Starr and Commodo. But after an album for Rinse never surfaced (Trim fell out with them, too), the MC's solo career faltered. Judging by the content of his debut LP—which has come out several years later, and in a different form—he's followed the success of his grime contemporaries with some resentment.
It's a shame that Trim can't just let it go, because his constant griping undermines his talents—if you can look past the wounded ego, 1-800-Dinosaur Presents Trim shows that he has plenty. Faced with a volley of bizarre beats from a crew of leftfield producers, the MC keeps his poise and style. The strangest of the lot comes from James Blake: "RPG" is actually the album's weak spot, with haunted fairground synths working like a prankster against Trim's vocal, as if Blake is still in the bootlegger mindset of his Harmonimix series. Other producers are more sympathetic. Airhead draws on the space and warm weight of dubstep for his three beats; Happa's hulking, horn-led "Before I Lied" has an undeniable momentum; Bullion packs the heat-warped weirdness of his recent album into "Among The Living".
Lyrically, Trim isn't at his most mind-bending—he seems to have slowed his verbal metabolism to match the often thoughtful instrumentals—but he's not without witty moments. (On "Man Like Me," his "Flow's like arse / Kiss me"; on "Waco" he's "Such a big Big Mac to these gherkins.") Balancing things out are a couple of peeks behind the ego. On the Boothroyd-produced "White Room," shimmering pianos and guitar-like swoons prompt a rare flash of self-doubt. "Or am I some form of tulip in a cabbage patch / Lost in hope of winning a set / And stuck on stupid / Sending out silly little threats to my opposition?" he asks. Trim definitely isn't stuck on stupid, but a bit more self-awareness wouldn't go amiss.
01. Stretch (prod. by Airhead)
02. Before I Lied (prod. by Happa)
03. Man Like Me (prod. by Airhead)
04. Waco (prod. by Airhead)
05. Among The Living (prod. by Bullion)
06. RPG (prod. by James Blake)
07. White Room (prod. by Boothroyd)
08. 13th Apostle (prod. by Dan Foat)
09. Seeker (prod. by Klaus)
10. No Manners (prod. by Boothroyd)