Strata Florida - Falling From Grace - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Strata Florida - Falling From Grace

by Jeff Penczak Rating:9 Release Date:2016-11-25

We loved Swallow alum, Louise Trehy’s Made of Stars debut two years ago and are excited that she hung in there to create this marvelous sophomore effort, aided and ably abetted by the legendary bassist and keyboard player Peter Pavli, whose numerous credits across a lengthy career snuggling up on 50 years include stints with High Tide, Third Ear Band, and several Hawkwind and Bevis Frond-related projects with Ade Shaw, Rod Goodway, and Michael Moorcock. When her previous label passed on the release, Trehy and Pavli released it themselves, and if you enjoyed the debut – or simply can’t get enough flickering pop with angelic, Cocteausy vocals and shimmering musical accompaniment, you’ll be glad they did.

Trehy’s double-pronged attack of ethereal arrangements and soft, breathy vocals washes over the listener as soon as ‘Caroline’ slows out of the speakers, an almost hallucinogenic, wah-wah musical backing floating across the room. Scintillating shards of slicing guitars crystalize across your synapses as ‘Vital Signs’ continues to remind of vintage Cocteaus – one can almost imagine Robin Guthrie hiding in a corner ripping off one of his patented, heavily-treated guitar lines, as Trehy again delivers dreamy vocals throughout.

A blueprint thus established, the pair stick to their template throughout, with paeans to ‘Emily Brontë’ possibly requiring a few listens to totally understand the lyrics, which on occasion tend to get lost in the heady, multi-tracked arrangements. But the title track (actually, ‘Falling’) has an incessant earworm of a melody with simple, yet elegant guitar lines propelling it even deeper into your subconscious where it’s certain to resurface without the slightest warning, and the six-minute closer, ‘Don’t Give Up On Me’ (perhaps a thinly veiled slight at her previous employer?) is a tad noisier, slightly sexier, and marries Pavli’s melodic bass lines with Trehy’s by-now all too familiar vocal approach that easily explains how the two could have met in their local choir!

Once again, an uplifting, spiritual high is generated, the perfect tonic for cleansing life’s maladies.

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