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Before a note of Trailer Trash Tracys debut album has been struck, their very name seems to have been enough to get most seasoned critics, miserable hacks and rabid fans in a hype-machine twist, pointing accusing fingers at the band for duping everyone into thinking that they would sound like the tight leopard skin-clad, bubblegum-blowing glitterballs that their name suggests. Instead, we’re treated to a gloriously low-lit journey that drifts through Twin Peaks; David Lynch riding shotgun with Phil Spector in the back, letting the darkness ghost through the cold night air, because ‘Ester’ is a debut that floats and breezes over you, lilting and wilting into the background like a graveyard mist. Beautiful and equally ominous, it strikes a rich note between the haunting and enthralling, tempting and enticing us to indulge in Suzanna Aztoria’s sultry, groaning presence and the prettified B-Movie isolation; those frozen black and white moments in outback motels where sinister shadows are cast just before the blood chillingly starts to spill.

And it’s tracks like ‘Englhardt’s Arizona’ (charged with a manic guitar line and Aztoria’s chiffon vocal for an intriguingly breathless contradiction), the languorous, down-tempo ‘You Wish You Were Red’ (oozing like a droopy-eyed The Big Pink) and the slinking ‘Los Angered’ (sloping with the sexy charm the Howling Bells’ Juanita Stein once captivated us with) that gives the album a real breadth and depth.

Filtered through some decidedly Kevin Shields-esque shoegaze haze, a constrained slash of the Jesus and Mary Chain’s static animosity and the fuggy, 80s percussion clapping like thunder in the distance, ‘Ester’ treats us to the full gamut of musical reference points, twirling around sweet female harmonies and skirting round the pleasantly experimental side of pop. But beneath the beguiling melodies, gloomy shades of witch-house loiter in the shadows. Where ‘Strangling Good Guys’ and ‘Dies in 55’ uplift and sparkle, ‘Starlatine’ and ‘Black Circle’ drop into a bleak, detached dead-space, the richness of the backdrops sucked out to a sparse minimalism that’s wracked with a creepy tension.

Like any dark art, this is an album charged with a delectably noir seduction that holds its allure without being overly doom-laden or dramatic. In a constant slow-burn, the sense of the forbidden and foreboding flickers right until the album’s climax; the muffled placidity of closer ‘Turkish Heights’ bashing its way to a fittingly brutal silence.

Balanced by its blend of sifted influences, it probably isn’t the definitive Trailer Trash Tracys hallmark, simply because there’s the promise of so much more. Sometimes it’s almost too easy to overlook the level of detail that goes into condensing and distilling a band’s identity into the inhibited course of one album, but it takes a craft and conviction that few bands are willing to attempt straight away. Whether it’s a fear of failure or finding early comfort in the conventional, Trailer Trash Tracys’ take on the nostalgic is everything you want from a debut.

By Reef Younis