In the UK it's often the case that either you're well-known or nobody's heard of you. In this case, it's a little different. Andreya Triana may not ring any bells, but the titles of her singles: "Lost Where I Belong" and "A Town Called Obsolete" may do. The young singer-songwriter's "Lost Where I Belong" album came out just before the end summer 2010 ended and finds her showing what a talent she is in Soul, Downtempo and Trip-Hop.
As a starting place, the singles come across as real representatives of this album. In some cases these are just tunes to make you think an album is going to sound a certain way and you'll find that it's actually completely different, but here it's reflected throughout the LP. The record is largely dark, but in places (like on "Up in Fire) it seems as though it lifts this to draw in the listeners. Her soulfulness does allow her to expand into a little Funk on one tune, but elsewhere it's all about creating an eerie atmosphere for her music.
Leading the production is Bonobo. Famed for sample-heavy Trip-Hop compositions, he makes the record what it is. An album just nine songs in length, its takes you on a musical journey through a range of unconventional sounds. Using low-tempo Breakbeats as the main backdrop, the music here is based in Folk guitar work and other sorts of earthy strings. The choices are interesting and far from the norm. The lack of syncopation in places, most prominently featured with the percussion on "A Town Called Obsolete", makes it a difficult one to listen to, but shows her influence from the Bristol sound.
The singer seems to keep things along the same level for the duration of the album and it does hurt her. It's only a short one and it has to be, otherwise she would never have been able to put it out. Throughout it seems as though it's been a little forceful in making you engage with the music. Her emotive lyrics tend to be of a very personal nature and so make you obliged to listen to her. It's as if she's pulled you to one side to tell you about her story and you're trapped in a room with her until she's let you know every little detail. Not many will feel that they want such deep and weighty music in summer. It's strange that she didn't wait a while before releasing the album when the UK's climate would be a more suitable backdrop to the album, but it is what it is. Its mood music that'll effect you for some time to come and so you need to be warned if you'd prefer a much easier listen right about now.
For Downbeat, Chill-Out music, it seems a bit much. The album is packed with rather intense arrangements and gripping vocals. It's a rather full-on Soul album and it seems as though you have to inform people of how they are probably not going to be into it, more than recommending it. It's a difficult one as there's clearly a lot of good here: raw, jazzy vocals to deliver her in-your-face lyrics, but it seems to lack the variety to make it listenable. At the moment it sounds like lots of good ideas, but ones which haven't quite translated themselves into a consistent album that's manageable in one listen. It's more of an effort to get through it (never mind listen to it a few times to really feel it). The singles as well as "Up in Fire" and "Darker Than Blue" are all worth looking out for.
In conclusion, this is an album that's not likely to be everyone's cup of tea. There's a lot to like about her smoky and unpolished vocals (like those of Amy Winehouse) but the overall coldness of the record is likely to be a little off-putting to those who prefer their Soul to sound much more easily-accessible than as if we have to force ourselves to like it because music critics told us it's good. Andreya Triana clearly has a vision and whether we 'get' it or not, she's going to keep coming with more of this kind of thing in the future.
1. "Draw the Stars" **Three Stars**
2. "Lost Where I Belong" **Four Stars**
3. "A Town Called Obsolete" **Four Stars**
4. "Darker Than Blue" **Four Stars**
5. "Daydreamers" **Three Stars**
6. "Far Closer" **Four Stars**
7. "Something In the Silence" **Three Stars**
8. "Up in Fire" **Four Stars**
9. "X" **Three Stars**
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Draw The Stars
2 Lost Where I Belong
3 Town Called Obsolete, A
4 Darker Than Blue
6 Far Closer
7 Something In The Silence
8 Up In Fire