Trailer Trash Tracys - Ester
Shame about the name. If only they’d resisted and nailed that whole Jimmy Dean leatherette scuzz thang with a less wilfully absurd monicker, then perhaps this buzzing debut would have prompted less caution. Ester, make no mistake, is a thoroughly revivalist affair. It borrows from two distinct epochs and has a stab at remodelling both: note the over-driven nod to the shoe-gazing enclave of the late 80s and an always welcome display of noir-ish, 50s sensibilities. Older heads will spot lineage back to the former via the kind of semi-falsetto vocals modelled by both Lush and Slowdive, and the guitars (spare, ringing arpeggios) echo the smart re-invention of The Ravonettes.
It’s a shame, then, that for all that promise and with their irresistible influences prompting interest, keeping expectations low proves a wise policy. Ester is a cold fish and something of a hollow experience. Atmosphere is all; melody bludgeoned by the swirling mix. A stonily minimal approach to both bass and drums shapes a musical profile that verges on the featureless. A couple of songs shine out from the murk. On the skittering ‘Starlatine’, where Suzanne Aztoria’s frosty vocals start to hint at a touch more character than is obvious throughout, Ester adds focus and muscle to mere effect. Sadly, you’ll need to dig for these minor treasures. Here’s an undeniably strange brew that’s far from intoxicating.