(Coco Tauro Records)
Barbara Trentalange boasts an impressive resume, having paid
her dues with such illustrious alt-entities as Crooked Fingers, Calexico,
Sushirobo, Micah P. Hinson, and the like.
It’s no wonder then that her current solo set, her second under her own
auspices, sounds so unerringly familiar, even with its undulating
ambiance. Trentalange leans towards
hypnotic rhythms well suited to dance designs, often sounding kind of like a
cross between Deborah Harry and Massive Attack with Everything But the Girl
peering through the spaces in-between.
In a genuine sense, Awakening,
Level One lives up to its title; the album starts out in a somewhat lighter
vein, with songs such as “Shadow Man” and “Valentine” parlaying hypnotic
suggestion into ready refrains. Then the set shifts towards darker realms,
thanks to the menacing entry of “Fire Awakes the Sky” and the haunting ascent
of “Caged Blue” and the title track.
This is, after all, a disc that deals more with mood than melody,
testament to the specialized skills Trentalange’s offered to others and now
employs on her own. Still, given the
fact she’s yet to establish her name, anyone uninitiated might find this Awakening a rather eye-opening
Standout Tracks: “Shadow Man,”
“Valentine” LEE ZIMMERMAN