The Norman Transcript

N-town reviews

December 13, 2013

Music review: Trentalange newest CD is hauntingly beautiful

NORMAN — Musician: Trentalange

Album name: Same Illusion (2013)

Why you should listen: Vocalist Barbara Trentalange is an unusual artist in several respects. She’s the only musician in recollection with a full professional resume that has virtually nothing to do with music posted at her website. Trentalange is a graphic designer who has worked for a half-dozen companies including Merchant du Vin and as a contractor for Microsoft Corporation. She’s also a mother who created this newest album of all original songs during four-hour morning blocks while her daughter was in pre-school.

Trentalange begins the recording with breathy vocals and tapping piano keys on “Without Your Love.” It’s a cerebral introduction into her world that’s ordered in sublimely specific ways. Save Stuart Mcleod’s percussion and guest musicians on three tracks, all other music is played by Trentalange. Her vocals conjure a refined aura that brings to mind Peggy Lee. Trentalange’s musical collaboration chronicle includes time with Spyglass, SushsiRobot, Crooked Fingers and most recently blip-beat dance outfit Head Like a Kite. This album of eight songs sounds little like any of those. The title track’s arrangement reflects the Seattle indie rock scene she’s been immersed in for over two decades. It rolls with driving drums, insistent electric guitar and high slicing vocals soaring over the fray. The song about life’s illusory alterations is accompanied by the album’s cover art, designed naturally by Trentalange. On the outer cover the artist is under a magnifying glass held by an unseen hand. Inside she’s holding the glass herself to one beautiful sea green eye. All the songs are hauntingly beautiful with lyrics that speak to a personal and loving connection with the world around her. Even “Lies” with its tambourine cadence and cello lament finds resilience ringing in Trentalange’s voice. Her strength drawn on from a multitude of sources is no grand illusion.

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