"Benefit of the doubt prevails",
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This review is from: Ester (Audio CD)
Fears already exist for the future of Trailer Trash Tracys. Sure, their debut LP Ester houses some choice tunes, but the majority of these were written a few years ago and the more modern remainder just doesn't carry the same weight ... but away with such negativity for now.
For, offering more than a glimmer of hope, the recent and Raveonettes-reminiscent "Dies In 55" bucks this trend, running quiet riot with twinkling arpeggios, sugary retro-futurist equipment and unsubtle machine-gun rips from a prominent electronic drum. So too do the compressed beat of "Starlatine", its otherworldly percussion and dreamy speaker-to-speaker shifts that suggest tripping out on Mazzy Star records.
Unfortunately, elsewhere, despite what must be a conscious effort to diversify, certain experiments fall flat. Lacking cohesion, "Engelhardt's Arizona" is an overlong exercise in disparately skewed synth and aggressive drum chirrups that flail wildly in the mix rather than with real impact. Later, "Black Circle" suffers from the same problem while its bubbling bassline feels kind of nauseous, but not in a good way.
Another issue is that some tracks seem little more than badly recalled echoes of Ester's better material - see the beleaguered "Los Angered" for proof. And then there's the unnecessarily re-recorded version of the formerly striking "Strangling Good Guys". As a result, this slightly blunted edit has lost some of its crumpled shoegaze thrust, but luckily not so much as to render the track entirely impotent.
Happily, Ester mostly manages to bury its minuses however, as the shadow cast by its high points forgives that which is consigned to the shade. As such, and just as it has for the past couple of years, that mesmeric bassline so evocative of David Lynch's Twin Peaks hums perfectly here beneath Suzanna Aztoria's beautiful vocal in "You Wish You Were Red" - a ponderous account that is otherwise high on Cocteau Twins intangibility, retro rock `n' roll, warping pedal effects and an almost-C86 jangle.
Equally impressive, "Candy Girl" successfully blends those ever-so-sleek bass interjections with a dancing guitar riff, girl-group pop and lashings of nostalgic shoegaze noise. Aztoria too here engages energetically with the track, rushing upwards and falling back as gracefully as a bird in flight.
An album of two halves then, Ester is neither complete success nor total write-off. Benefit of the doubt prevails for now, but Trailer Trash Tracys are going to have to iron some consistency into any future material fast if they aren't soon to be consigned to landfill - and that's an effort surely worth making as when they find a winning formula they're really much better than their much-mocked band name may suggest.
Advised downloads: "You Wish You Were Red" and "Candy Girl".