Friday 6 January 2012

Trailer Trash Tracys - Ester

Album review by KevW

This article also appears on

I bet you're all thinking "oh god, not another album recorded using the solfeggio scale...". No? Us neither, but if you're wondering, it's an ancient scale that's based on seven musical syllables and is the tonal system with which 'Ester' was recorded. Apparently. Trailer Trash Tracys are not averse to a bit of myth making, their name is supposedly that of a troupe of strippers from the Stalin-era Soviet Union, although it doesn't sound particularly Russian. (A quick play on a translation site reveals Trailer Trash Tracys translates to Russian as 'хлам трейлера tracys'. I can't see Stringfellows rebranding any time soon.)

If you ignore any superfluous mystery surrounding this band and dive into their music instead, you'll find there's plenty of mystique to be found within their songs. A blend of influences from a mix of eras are on show, often all at once, and this brings a dark and murky edge to their brand of dreampop (dreampop-noir?), one that recognises that those strange visions we get when asleep aren't all washy sounds, hazey images and angelic vocals. Some of them are just plain weird and often quite scary, which is why this album is laden with eerie Twin Peaks guitar twangs and awkward sound collages along with more traditional Cocteau Twins shimmering.

'Wish You Were Red' and the gorgeous 'Dies In 55' fall very much into the latter category, dragging Liz Fraser's lot through a 50s jukebox that's been wired up to Clinic's drum machine. Before things are allowed to become too comfortable, the squiggling guitar overlaying 'Engelhardt's Arizona' reminds us that things could take a turn towards the unsettling at any given moment. The reverb soaked 'Los Angered' sounds ghostly and forlorn and it's not a million miles away from something Esben & The Witch may produce. 'Candy Girl' takes the girl-group format and reimagines it as the soundtrack to an unnerving David Lynch movie, before the upbeat 'Strangling Good Guys' (despite its sinister name) lightens the load once more.

'Ester' combines a wealth of ideas that, alone, are not in the slightest bit original. However, combined in this way they create something new and unique, whilst at the same time the familiarity of the sounds used makes this a quite welcoming album that veers from one emotion to the next; from dark to light and back again, and sometimes both together. There's a thoughtful, cinematic feel to the record which comes from the attention to detail that must have arisen from it's lengthy creation. Where the journey will take them next is difficult to predict, but for the time being we've got an excellent and interesting debut album to explore.

Trailer Trash Tracys - Dies in 55 by abeano

Trailer Trash Tracys - You Wish You Were Red by DominoRecordCo

Trailer Trash Tracys - Candy Girl by Double Six

Trailer Trash Tracys 'Strangling Good Guys' by DominoRecordCo

Trailer Trash Tracys' website

Buy the album

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