» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
A Colores
Better Looking Records

Rating: 5/10 ?

March 3, 2006
It has long been my opinion that effective instrumental music requires an allure greater than the mere absence of vocals. As those of us who have dabbled with projects of our own that we'd rather remained buried in the backyards of our naivety will know, singing isn't as easy as it seems, and yes, perhaps an instrumental approach is an easier, blush-averting, less heart-on-sleeve approach to forming a band. But what we may not have realised is that such an absence inevitably leaves a gaping vacuum that any critical observer will demand filling. It may have been via the hard way, but if I learnt it, surely anyone can.

Tristeza tread the middle ground between indie-rock and home-listening. Essentially, as have been the intentions of post-rock forbearers Slint, Tristeza look toward the construction of atmospherics. They loop simple guitar-lines, keyboard arpeggios and synth pads, saturate them with delay and reverb to the point that they bear an imprecise direction and convey a vague aura, and meander - steadily and unconvincingly - in the mood.

A Colores's most glaring failure is its reluctance to shift from the narcotic tone it so quickly assumes. Whereas Dream Signals in Full Circles, Tristeza's career standout, possessed an unmatched warmth that was instantly gratifying and easy to tune into, A Colores marginalizes itself. Despite that, once zoomed in upon A Colores is a different experience - intermittent flirtations with snippets of the album would paint a promising hypothetical picture of the album, revealing sections of lucidity, instrumental imagination, dynamics, and a generally enthralling sound - when placed in context, hypnotic turns to boring, and boring turns to dispensable.

In relative terms, "La Tierra Sutil" exudes character - a brisk waltz that reaches the pits in melancholy - and for that reason alone, represents the pick of the bunch. "Balabaristas" brushes some of the charming moments documented on Mania Phase and Espuma - the two EPs released on Gravity a couple of years ago, before guitarist Jimmy LaValle departed to explore new ground with the Album Leaf - while the introduction to "Cuchillos de Hielo" provides a moment of light relief, which works quite well.

But what particularly strikes me about A Colores is its blinking suggestions of other, more shallowly-rooted acts: "Wand" sounds like its on the verge of morphing into an M83 track, whereas some of the wishy-washy moments of "Harmonic Sea" hint firmly at The Engineers. Almost ten years into their career we might have hoped that Tristeza would have developed a more distinct persona. I'm therefore inclined to treat A Colores as an epilogue to a story that deserves more attention. Look towards Spine and Sensory and Dream Signals in Full Circles for frequencies of a more positive nature.

Reviewed by Mike Wright
A staff writer based in London, England, Mike Wright is eternally troubled by the American bastardization of the English language.

See other reviews by Mike Wright



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