The buildup of Trailer Trash Tracys is something Venue was blissfully unaware of until reviewing this, their debut album. There is a fine line between albums which mesmerise with their sonics and production, alluding to a dreamlike alternate perception of the world, and albums which wash themselves out and lose impact. Venue is afraid to say that Ester suffers the problems of the latter.
The child at the sweetshop comes to mind. The first track, Rolling Kiss the Universe, commences with tape-echo sounds and BBC Radiophonic Workshop type effects. Think pre-Darkside of the Moon Floyd or Hendrix’s Axis Bold as Love paired with the melodics of the Dandy Warhols in a space rock mood. From there, the song segues seamlessly into You Wish You Were Red. Red represents the other half of the Trailer Trash Tracys equation: bass lines reminiscent of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks television theme, arpeggiated electric guitar accompaniment and electronic drum sounds and other various bleeps and bloops. It also encapsulates the album’s key annoyances: a distorted lead vocal washed out with reverb and over-eagerness to pile on the echo. The confectionary approach is fun but risks making you sick.
This is not to say that the album does not have strong fundamentals, but that they are all too often obscured. Strangling Good Guys is a clear example of a track which has the meat and potatoes of interesting ideas but keeps its light under a sonic bushel. The principle sonic offender is the treatment of Suzanne Aztoria’s vocal.
Smearing the vocal impairs the diction and makes discerning the lyrical content difficult and often impossible. At the same time there is little sonic pay off as the music does not need her voice for its tonic; the voice as instrument considerations do not trump the frustration of hearing singing without making out the words. While this is going on, the album is testament to strong performances from all members which makes Venue feel it is something of a wasted opportunity. Hopefully this is something that can be improved upon next time as, despite the low score, the album demonstrates the possibility of better work in the future.