It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten brand new vinyl, as my usual listening consists of used record store finds or albums that were pressed long before MP3s existed. So I was pretty stoked when I received Trance, the latest record from the Richmond, Virginia band, White Laces.
The first thought, upon sliding the blue vinyl out of the sleeve, was, “Ooooh, pretty,” which quickly turned into, “wow, heavy.” And the weight wasn’t imagined, because the record is 180 gram vinyl. But a great looking record doesn’t mean much, if what’s in the grooves isn’t equally as cool.
The first song on the album, “Teenage Brain,” starts off with a bit of a hiss, which made me think something was wrong with the turntable needle. That hiss quickly turned into rhythms reminiscent of when musicians (and other enlightenment seekers) flooded India, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, looking for an audience with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Soon enough, though, the hiss toned down and it went to a swirly, synth, fuzz-layered, indie pop—making it sound almost like two different songs. This wasn’t a bad thing in the slightest. Surprises are good. So when your needle hits the first track, don’t be alarmed, everything is going to be more than fine.
Over all, the album is a mixture of thoughtful indie synthpop, as well as a throw back to the jangly guitar days of bands like R.E.M., with a hint of The Replacements in the vocals—particularly on the tracks, “On a Wire” and “Heavenly Creatures.” The songs spinning out of this pretty blue vinyl have enough variety to hold even the shortest of attention spans; i.e., everything doesn’t sound the same. The album can be equally at home as chill background music, or blasting from the car speakers during a road trip.
“Cruisin’” — 80’s influenced jangly guitar, echo-y vocals, and a fast pace. 80’s college radio for a modern time.
“Janet” — Heavy drums, swirly synth, jangly guitar. Perfect for messily painting a giant canvass without a drop cloth.
“On a Wire” — Driving drums, subtle surf guitar, fuzzy, with a hint of The Replacements. What’s not to like?
“Keith Sweat” — Leading in with plunky, cheerful guitar along with thick drums to build the pace—this is a road trip song.
In a nutshell
If The Replacements passed out on your living room floor and a friendly hipster covered them with a soft, fuzzy, synth blanket, while Peter Buck (R.E.M.) slipped a jangly guitar pillow under their heads—that would be Trance.
You can order your copy of Trance on LP or a straight up digital download by visiting the EggHunt Records site.
White Laces is currently on tour and will be playing on June 4, at the Norfolk Taphouse, with Lou Breeders, Ersula and Boneske.
Be sure to check the White Laces Facebook page to see the rest of their tour dates.