By Cody Mello-Klein
The result of a spontaneous desire to collaborate, numerous label-related activities, and some free time, this joint effort between British solo artists Peter Lyons and Kerry Leatham rises above the standard indie-pop release. This is, in part, due to the efforts of the aforementioned Peter and Kerry, both of whom possess unique vocal qualities and musical preferences that really end up resulting in an intriguing debut album for this project.
Of course catchy, clearly-recorded vocals from both members are all over La Trimouille, however what really makes this so downright infectious is the harmonies that these two vocalists manage to create. The dynamic between Kerry Leatham’s sometimes soulful, sometimes pop vocals and Peter Lyons’ vocals which range from low, whispers to high-register tinkling really carries this album.
This vocal dynamic is also used in interesting ways in terms of the lyrical discussions as on tracks like “Annie.” On “Annie,” Kerry and Peter have an intense discussion detailing the trials and tribulations of two lovers. Unfortunately, this unique quality is not used nearly enough, and oftentimes the lyrics really don’t rise above detailing the standard love story that pop and indie-pop alike have been plagued with.
In terms of instrumentals, the album excels. For these two artists and their producer, they managed to create a perfect mix for pretty much every track. Echoing guitars, electronic warbles, and the pat-pat of electric drums can all be heard quite clearly and crisply, which really allows for the instrumentals on this album to shine. Throughout the album sounds pop out at the listener which astonish, confuse, and intrigue all at the same time. A clear example of this is on “Cirque,” a track that embeds an unidentifiable “click-clacking” firmly within the drumbeat. Along with 80’s-infused keyboards that echo, twinkle, and fill the airwaves, this track stands out as the quintessence of everything this album has to offer. The keyboards, unique sounds and perfect mixing are bolstered by the great harmonies of both artists, the vocals blending into an incredibly dense and spirited stew that melds both voices into a single entity by the end of the track.
While many tracks stand out as experimental, electronic indie-pop tracks, many more suffer from overused sounds like the countless 80’s keyboard sounds and even some vocal harmonies. This mostly occurs in the latter half of the album, as some tracks struggle to stand up against the weight of their own counterparts. An interesting pattern also emerged in which the verses of most tracks were SO much more energetic and intriguing than the choruses that it made me wonder if the label or producer forced these artists to tack on hooks and catchy harmonies. This is embodied on “Fucking Around,” a track that features an almost psychedelic afro-pop verse contrasted with a rather boring chorus.
Ultimately, La Trimouille separates itself from other releases in this genre with its ability to meld great vocal harmonies, interesting instrumentation, the occasional interesting lyrical topic, and even a great use of dynamics. Although it falters a bit in its second half, Peter and Kerry create a unique experience for the listener, taking a journey through space, the 80’s, and back into the present, which is something not too many indie-pop groups can lay claim to.