Regularly takes flight and carries your heart heavenwards with it.
Paul Clarke 2010-08-20
With Mr. Scruff, Flying Lotus and Theo Parrish all having enlisted her services recently, Andreya Triana is currently challenging Alice Russell as the go-to girl for leftfield beats producers searching for a female vocal. The Russell comparison actually doesn’t bear much weight beyond the company they keep – Triana’s voice being a more languid instrument than Russell’s booming pipes – yet it’s enough to have presented her with a similar problem to her fellow Brighton-based soul sister. Namely, how to make the transition from valued guest to fully-fledged solo star.
It’s a dilemma Lost Where I Belong nearly resolves. Triana is certainly as good a songwriter as she is singer: the twilight imagery of Daydreamers sounding all the more poignant delivered in a voice which – like Nina Simone or Amy Winehouse – gains its beauty from the cracks within it rather than any polished sheen. It also provides the album with its lived-in air; much of Lost Where I Belong sounds like songs you’ve always known and loved.
However, that lovelorn atmosphere and Triana’s careworn voice barely change throughout the entire album, meaning the sepia tones of this retro-soul can begin to seem a touch monotone. Bonobo’s production, heavy on the folky guitars, strings and feathery beats, is as finely crafted as it was on his recent Black Sands album, on which Triana also appeared. But whereas Eyes Down from that album tied Triana to a half-speed breakbeat, here nothing gets much perkier than Up In Fire, a fine track but one which could hardly be called rousing. The fact that she has done woozy electronica with Flying Lotus alongside deep house with Theo Parrish means we know Triana can perform more than just jazzy torch songs but – whilst no-one’s asking her for a techno banger – you do sense that she has at least one Northern soul belter in her, which she never steps up to deliver.
Make no mistake, Lost Where I Belong regularly takes flight and carries your heart heavenwards with it. But Triana could clearly reach even greater heights if she spread her wings a little bit more.
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