Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Album of the Week: High, Wide & Handsome by The Trishas

The Trishas weave effortlessly beautiful harmonies with expert musicianship in their debut CD, High, Wide & Handsome. The first song on the album, "Mother of Invention" reels you in with with their irresistable harmonies and simple guitar and banjo arrangements. Sounding a little like "Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby" from Oh Brother Where Art Thou, "Mother of Invention" has that same siren-song quality and hypnotic appeal. Singing, "In interesting conditions you discover who you really are," the Trishas invite you on a journey of musical discovery of their own. But like those silver screen sirens, The Trishas turn the tables after the first song. After singing about the possibilites and inspirations that privation can bring, they focus the rest of the songs on the deeper privation of lost love. But instead of finding possibilities and inspirations, they discover only broken hearts and fools. In songs like "Liars and Fools," "The Fool," and "Little Sweet Cigars," the Trishas make clear that love is a fool's game from the start. They sum it up succinctly in "Little Sweet Cigars" singing "when you're kissed by a fool then you're fooled by a kiss." Other songs paint an equally bleak picture of love's entanglements. In songs like "Cheater's Game," "Why," and "Strangers," they sing about life after love's flame burns out. In "Strangers," for instance they lament that "I'd like to introduce myself to the one I used to know so well." But if love's fire burns out, the Trishas prove that music's fire never does. In "Looking At Me," they advise that "a fire burns slow if you know how to build it." And again in "One Down," they sing, "if there's nothing left to burn, set yourself on fire." And this album is indeed a slow, sultry burn. Sounding at times like torch singers (especially on "Cold Blooded Love,") The four members of the Trishas smolder their way through love's ups and downs culminating in one of the album's finest moments, "Rainin' Inside." A John Prine-esque blues ballad that begins, "Billie Holliday is killing me, like she's been reading my mind. I dropped the needle on her yesterday and I've been listening all this time," "Rainin' Inside" demonstrates that these ladies sing the blues with the best of them.

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