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Tralala – S/T

Audika Records, 2005

The approximately 108 eyeballs that stared blankly at me during a thrift shopping trip beckoned me to buy this record.  It also helped that I had downloaded a pretty good track entitled “The Girls Say” from a prominent indie website not too long before this encounter at a music store, so I was willing to take a chance on what I figured would be a cheerful record.  I also didn’t want those eyeballs to be visiting me later in my sleep in case they were planted by the band as a psychological punishment of guilt.  I don’t know, it could be true.  It’s only a matter of time before cover art steps up to the next level and truly influences (instead of casually influences) one’s whimsical purchases.

Tralala is a band that is made up of seven members (four chicks, three guys) that primarily has the women singing and the guys trying to keep up with them.  Unlike some other bands out there with multiple vocalists, these four ladies sing concurrently in every song.  Therefore, one can’t really distinguish one from the other in the recording because they all sound like they might be a part of a cheerleader squad with the way they always sound excited and fond of the home team (aka themselves).  I did manage to notice that Stella was the cutest in my book, but that did not come out in the music.  However, some people may be more interested in the liner notes and the photos within than the music.

The music itself is, as you might have guessed from a troupe of mostly chippy women, quite upbeat.  “All Fired Up” sounds like it bursts out of the middle of a hopping crowd and saturates the listener with honeyed pop, while “Your Time is My Time” follows up and maintains a lot of that energy.  What will notice from both songs is that they are relatively quick and quite simple.  The band doesn’t go into long solos or get crafty with their tempo.  Instead, they serve more as a steady back up band to the four singing ladies.  I suppose this might make the more discerning listener critical of being forced to listen to a lot of the same riffs, but then again, sometimes the old credo of if it works then don’t change it serves pop music well.

“The Girls Say” is one of those songs that sound like just another smiley Tralala track, but its upbeat tempo disguises a subject regarding one’s lack of confidence to committing in a relationship.  I’ve admitted before that I’ve got this thing for Stephin Merritt songs, so this song’s lyrical and sound contradiction just go right for me.  Even the ‘ba ba ba, ba ba-dah dah’ chorus at the end doesn’t sound forced or overly cute.  It’s a great tune.  For the most part, Tralala continues its cheerful tack for the rest of the album.  The band does decide to finally slow things down a bit with “Stop Pretending”, but even though it continues with the four girl chorus, it does seem a little out of place based on what was heard for eight straight songs previous.  And even though the more energized music is what makes Tralala a fun band, it doesn’t mean that somewhat annoying songs like “No/Yeah” don’t find their way to make perfectly good songs tedious to listen to.  Essentially, there’s a woman that sings a bit too high and sounds a bit like a barking small dog.  Oh well, they can’t all be great.

Give the ladies of Tralala a listen at their MySpace page.

Tralala have managed to put out a more recent record but, looking around blogs and other music sites, the group still has yet to catch on.  I definitely feel that this record was worth a dollar no matter if many songs resemble each other in pep.  I will say that, if there’s someone you know that mostly listens to softer stuff but might be willing to try out some harder rock albums, this album is a good transition piece.  It has enough non-stop energy to give a newbie rocker a chance to experience continuous noise but it is light enough to make it appealing to softer ears.  Heck, maybe if they add another female singer to the group this band will be unstoppable no matter what genre of music one is into.  Then again, maybe they should just do that so the liner notes are even more interesting…

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