Release Date: Feb 7, 2012
Record label: Domino
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
There’s probably no more deceptive band name in the history of music than Trailer Trash Tracys: it conjures up images of a Pistol Annies lookalike cranking out semi-ironic country in a doublewide. But what’s in a name? Ester, the debut from this London quartet, is eerily ambitious if not downright eerie. Recorded on a solfeggio scale (essentially a tuning used in Gregorian chants not compatible with Western instruments), the songs are ruminations on the Mazzy Star/Massive Attack theme with the avant-garde fuzz, David Lynchian references and distant female vocals cranked way up and out.
Who knows why a band specialising in sensuous, reverb-sodden shoegaze chose a name as offputting as Trailer Trash Tracys? The London foursome must have wanted to lower expectations, and they've indubitably done that, which makes the music even more of a surprise. The band claim to have achieved their sound through a melange of Sufi poetry, non-western guitar tunings and an "animal orchestra", and that may even be true. Whatever the case, this is a dreamy, drifty debut influenced by girl groups and, inevitably, David Lynch.
In an age where many bands' existences are documented extensively from start to finish, there's something admirable about a band that has more than a shred of mystery surrounding it. Trailer Trash Tracys have mystique to spare, from their bizarre name to the way they released the single Candy Girl/You Wish You Were Red in 2009, then largely disappeared to work on their debut album Ester. Another thing that adds to their intrigue is that unlike many other keepers of the shoegaze/dream pop flame in the 2010s, Trailer Trash Tracys don't rely on walls of towering guitar to create a spacious sound.
You might think that the London-based quartet Trailer Trash Tracys have a rather silly band name. You’d be absolutely right. It’s not exactly a name that reaches out to you and entices you in. (I’m not the only one to reach this realization; other online reviews have, well, trashed it as well.) What’s more, with a moniker like that, you might be expecting something a little on the surf rock or thrashy side, or someone in the band to actually boast the name Tracy.
In the ranks of inappropriate band names, Trailer Trash Tracys isn’t quite up there with Jackie-O Motherfucker, but it’s not that far away. The name evokes images of a Mötley Crüe-esque LA hair metal band from the 80s, or perhaps a shotgun and banjo-toting hill-billy group, complete with trucker caps and dungarees. Fortunately the band’s sound lies elsewhere along the rock spectrum, being a heady mix of the ethereal and the earthy.
Why doesn’t anyone make big, loud rock music anymore? You’ll get a lot of different answers to that question, depending on who you ask, but it’s probably got something to do with Kid A being great, Be Here Now being terrible, the last ten years of the Foo Fighters’ career being fairly uninteresting, Mona and Brother being totally embarrassing, Klaxons and The xx winning the Mercury Music Prize, Lady Gaga winning several Grammys, SBTRKT and Tim Hecker making into DiS’s top five albums of 2011 and, generally, dubstep. Oh, and the fact that we don’t read Kerrang! anymore. Still, no matter who you blame for the lack of loud riffs and wanky guitar solos in recent years, 2012 doesn’t look like it’ll be the year that saved rock (again), irrespective of him from The Enemy’s claims to the contrary.
Someone recently posted a SoundCloud ‘mash-up’ of every Beatles song layered on top of one another. The first couple of minutes was just ‘[b]Revolution 9[/b]’ and the last two and a half minutes were a vision of Merseybeat hell, an unlistenable scree of “[i]Ooooh![/i]”s and a million muddy Ringos. But around the three-minute mark, as the crackling static arcadia of ‘[b]Revolution 9[/b]’ clashed against the heroin slope of ‘[b]Come Together[/b]’ and the psychedelic melodicism of ‘[b]A Day In The Life[/b]’, it sounded uncannily like [a]Trailer Trash Tracys[/a].
Almost three years ago a band called Trailer Trash Tracys surfaced on a No Pain In Pop compilation. Their song "Strangling Good Guys" stood out with its satisfyingly distorted drums and haze of lusty shoegaze pop. It was a cut that sounded fresh, powerful, and ended up feeling ahead of a curve that gave us the similarly fuzzy pop of the first Best Coast, Pearl Harbor, and Smith Westerns demos.
Sporting a slowed down dream-pop/shoegaze sound and a band name more suited to a sleaze-punk band opening for the Dwarves in the mid-'90s, Trailer Trash Tracys emerged in 2009, and between then and now released single after blog-baiting single. They were good ones too: the swirling, almost Black Moth Super Rainbow psych of "Strangling Good Guys," the wistful slow dance of "Candy Girl," and most recently, the playful "You Wish You Were Red. " Unfortunately, sometime in the past three years, something went awry, and now we have Ester.
With 2011 enamoured with the retro, it’s unlikely that Trailer Trash Tracys’ debut entry into 2012’s early days will drop jaws. That’s not to suggest the London quartet is lazy though. Formed around Interpol’s and the Rapture’s boom years, TTT aimed for the opposite of their contemporaries - ‘Ester’ being the full-length culmination of a band equally as talented.
A collection suited to after-hours reflection, the TV playing only static. Mike Diver 2012 The name screams hair metal, conjuring visions of hideously made-up, tight-trousered Sunset Strip wasters drinking away their album advances in the mid-80s. But London four-piece Trailer Trash Tracys are no such retro-coloured combo – or, rather, they don’t stir neon nightmares of Stryper and Cinderella.