There are great band names, and then there are great band names which double as great advice to bands. Certainly late-80s post-punk ladies We’ve Got A Fuzzbox And We’re Gonna Use It have an excellent name, and listening to the ranks of slightly lo-fi, lady singing, fuzzy guitar wielding bands around at the moment you can see it was good advice too. Fuzz is an almost inevitable word to throw around when talking about the Trailer Trash Tracys (terrible name, questionable advice) but then again they are inviting it by layering it all over their music. Certainly there are tracks, like ‘You Wish You Were Red’, which sound like they’d belong on former tourmates The xx‘s debut if only it weren’t for the warm fug of distortion over the twanging guitar and bass.
Trailer Trash Tracys also share a similarly minimalist and modernist approach to percussion with the Mercury winners; while the guitars can be traced back to the fuzzy indie of the 80s and 90s, the sparse beats sound crisp and wouldn’t be totally out of place on some of the weirder dubstep tracks out there. ‘Starlatine’ has a particularly pleasing building clatter of clicks and ticks as its outro. ‘Dies In 55’ has some wonderfully brazen drum machine sound effects which would be more usually found nestling in maximalist dance music from about 1992. If you’re a fairly introspective indie band willing to use the sort of noises which 2Unlimited might consider part of their palette then you get a minimum of half a star just for being so ballsy.
At times there is a slight triumph of style over substance on Ester, but when the songs come together with the sound the results are brilliant. ‘Candy Girl’ has a small choir of layered vocals from Suzanne Aztoria, and is all the more sumptuous and affecting for it. Swooping and a little bit epic, it sounds like it should be a cover of a classic early 60s girl group track. Just as good is ‘Strangling Good Guys’, a combination of strut, swooning falsetto and widdly widdly guitar, although not quite as widdly widdly as the gleefully bonkers riff which ‘Englehardt’s Arizona’ is based around. Just to prove they have range they shift the widdly widdly style from guitar to a fairground organ for ‘Dies In 55’ which is probably a great song too, but it sounds too much like a sinister version of the theme from The Magic Roundabout.
A few of the songs take a couple of listens to reveal their charms and can get lost among the more immediate ones, but, even on those tracks with less substantial tunes, there is usually some sonic oddity worth tuning in for. It’s also a pretty compact album, over and done with before you realise.
It’s a good debut and there are plenty of ideas knocking around which makes it well worth revisiting at length. Still not sure exactly what sort of advice Trailer Trash Tracys would be, but it doesn’t sound like it would involve positive outcomes for anyone called Tracy.
Release date: Out now