shame how often the progressive folk genre is overlooked, even by prog fans.
Dark, surreal, and featuring music that is driven by healthy diversity,
progressive folk is a truly fascinating genre. The newest example of this is the
band Trinity & Triage, a female-fronted band full of quirk, atmosphere, and
genius. Per a strong recommendation, I looked into their music, and was
pleasantly surprised by both the music and the fact that the album is FREE on Bandcamp.
Yes, that’s right, the album is free, so at least give it a chance.
Triage have a unique style.
If I had to
compare them to anyone, I would call them a mix of Dead Can Dance with Mostly
Autumn. That is only a surface comparison, however. The music is far more
complex than that comparison gives it justice for being. On top of this, I feel
an 80′s soft rock vibe in some of the tracks, as well. This lends a sense of
familiarity to the hypnotic surroundings.
foremost in the music is vocalist Deanna Quijada. Indeed, she is part of what
makes this self-titled debut so special. Her voice is rich, somewhat deep, and
actually sort of unsettling. She is rather partial to brilliantly awkward vocal
inflections, including yelping and howling, if you could call them that. Don’t
let that scare you, though, as they fit well with the music and are very
appropriate and classy. Deanna’s voice is certainly a highlight of the album, an
aspect that I find I fall in love with more every time I hear it. Her
performance of the sorrowful lyrics is both technically sound and completely
then, is a perfect match for these quirky vocals. Ralph Feetham and Kevin
Hartnell take care of all the guitars, bass, synth, drums, and percussive
instruments. This is no technical fest, however, as the music is slow,
well-paced, and rather simple. It’s simple, though, in a complex and surreal
fashion. Drums keep the odd beat well, guitars create a contrast to the vocals,
and synth is atmospheric, aside from some great synth lines present here and
there. It’s an atmospheric album through and through, with wild ideas and a
delicate touch. Indeed, much of the guitar is acoustic, and I find it to be very
satisfying and perfectly performed. Many of the guitar lines are strangely
upbeat, almost like a display of black humor. On the other hand, the electric
guitars are used to great effect with soaring, blackened emotions and opiate
dispositions. Indeed, they give me what I call “mind colors”, a frame of mind
that feels bespeckled with splotches of color. This delicate, careful guitar
work provides a perfect counterpart to the surreal vocals and melodies, and a
sort of ying yang experience.
Triage have crafted a debut album that is hypnotic, dreamlike, and completely
fresh. Yes, it’s slow and subtle, but it’s also furiously sung, expertly played,
and massively entertaining. Mind-bending at times, haunting in others, this
album features moments of truly towering surrealism, such as on the track
“Surreal”. So, from the more playful tone of “Surreal” and “Cathedral” to the
fantastically executed “Scorn” (my favorite) and the subtle “All at Sea”, this
debut album from Trinity & Triage is worthy of prog fans of all stripes.