Album review: trailer trash tracy's althaea

Written by Jacob Dagit, Staff Writer

After their 2012 debut, the dream pop duo Trailer Trash Tracys are now releasing Althaea, a muddy but consistent sophomore album. The 10-track EP seems to rely on the musical styles that Jimmy picked up while visiting the Philippines, as seen in the music videos for "Seibenkä" and "Eden Machine." It’s as if the British shoegaze duo went on a drug fueled holiday to the Philippines, got a vague idea of what the culture was like, and came back to their basement to record an album. Althaea by Trailer Trash Tracys is a hodgepodge of cheesy synth sounds, sloppy rhythms, and breathy vocals that find themselves abandoning the concept of structure or reason.

From the first track, "Smoked Silver," each song sounds vaguely similar, using the same tired drum patterns and flute synths that sound as if they were pushed through a narrow tin tube. Althaea seems to rely on the juxtaposition of synthetic and organic themes but ultimately creates a collection of random instruments, sounds, and rhythms layered over another into something that resembles a song.

The vocals are oversaturated with reverb, making each verse sound like a series of oblong vowels. Regardless of if Trailer Trash Tracys have anything interesting or compelling to say in their songs, it’s lost in the ether and limit vocalist Susanne Aztoria to being just another instrument mashed in the layers.

There are a couple of bright spots throughout the album, though few and far between. "Money for Moondogs" has a nice acoustic guitar that sounds like the only non-synthesized instrument on the entire album and a nice melody that almost develops into a hook. "Betty’s Catavina" ends with a nice string section outro that lasts for the last thirty seconds of the 5-minute song. These moments don’t make up for the blunders on the album like the rhythm structure and bass synth on "Gong Gardens" or how lazily repetitive all ten tracks, but cred where credit is due.

Althaea does little more for listeners for than creating a few songs that punish those trying to enjoy the nice portions of instrumentals with uncomfortable dissonance. After the first two tracks, one gets a general idea of what the entire album sounds like and wouldn’t be missing much by leaving it on in the other room or turning it off entirely. Above all else, what Althaea lacks is a sense of purpose. Without a sense of purpose, thesis, or direction, the art is diminished to being the sum of how pleasing it is to listen to which, in this case, is not to the benefit of Trailer Trash Tracys.

Listen to Trailer Trash Tracy's album Althaea, which released today, below: 

Contact Jacob by email at Jacob.dagit@loop.colum.edu.