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The second album by Trusty, The Fourth Wise Man, partakes of the discordant side of the Dischord sound while building strong melodies. If Dischord did any promotion, “Dear Diary” would be huge: It’s two-and-a-half minutes of the type of pop-punk that this generation’s Hot Hits station, WHFS, would place in heavy rotation if there were a major label pushing the tune down its throat. Same thing for “Missing Children” and “Dana Marie,” which jams like Paul Weller’s early-’80s take on the modern world, not to mention fellow area Anglophiles Chisel.

James Brady formed Trusty in 1989 in Little Rock, Ark., with fellow singer/guitarist Bobby Matthews, before moving to this area in 1992 and replacing the band’s original rhythm section with bassist Brad Long and drummer Jim Schaffer.

“When we started we were very much a hardcore band. Just, like, fuckin’ fast. Speed,” Brady says emphatically. “Then we just started getting more melodic, less hardcore.” Now, he says, Trusty has “a big British Invasion thing—Beatles, Kinks, mod thing—and stuff like the Jam.”

Despite Trusty’s faith in hooks, “Orange Line” sounds like an ode to the loud fast rules of the old days. “Well, kinda,” admits Brady. “Our drummer didn’t play that like I wanted it. I wanted that kinda ‘dog paddle’ hardcore beat, and he wouldn’t do that. He was going, ‘No, goddammit, I’m 30 years old.’”

The band is in limbo at the moment. Matthews moved to Memphis, Tenn., because his wife went to graduate school there, and Long just tied the knot, too. But Brady isn’t ready to quit.

“It might just be someday that we decide this is just not worth the struggle. Thing is, [Bobby’s] married, and his wife had this great deal at grad school, and when you’re married your life is about who you’re married to, not the four putzes you ride around in a van with.”

But if the Trusty boys stay together, aren’t they afraid they’ll tamper with the great Dischordian tradition of premature implosion? The Fourth Wise Man is available for $9 postage paid from Dischord, 3819 Beecher St. NW, Washington, DC 20007.—Christopher Porter