What did we expect from Guards, exactly? The trio’s punchy self-titled debut certainly grabbed attention, hitting a catchy, simple, indie rock sweet spot. It’s not as if something groundbreaking or experimental was expected.

In Guards We Trust
doesn’t do anything new, and that’s not a problem, but it does leave you wanting something more. Guards’ debut LP is packed with anthemic choruses, great hooks and a distinctly ‘90s alt-rock vibe. It’s the kind of music that feels very emotional, yet if you listen to the words, it’s not. “Ready To Go” features one of the most grandiose choruses on the record and all that’s being said is “we’re up and ready to go.”

Maybe it doesn’t matter. Richie Follin’s songwriting doesn’t have to say anything meaningful if he doesn’t want it to. It’s just that it sounds like it’s supposed to say more.

And it does still sound good. “Coming True” really nails the fuzzy ‘90s rock thing, especially because of its strong and steady bass pulse. I don’t often want to describe a guitar as “wailing,” but that’s what it’s doing on the chorus. “Giving Out” is similarly muscular, and “Nightmare” plays some interesting tricks in a fog of echoing vocals.

In Guards We Trust is an easy-to-enjoy record. It’s straight-forward, thumping, glimmering indie rock. You’ll want to sing along, even if it doesn’t mean anything.