Tristeza - Dream Signals in Full Circles
Tiger Style Records

Getting the new album by one of your favorite bands is always a tough
situation.  You know what I mean - you feel like you're stabbing your best
friend in the back if you even consider admitting its inferiority.  You
treat them like they're yours; full of friends and confidants.  So it's
usually tricky when weighing the newest output of favorite band x for fear
that, lo and behold, they've regressed!  It was with these feelings that I
put in the new Tristeza record, Dream Signals in Full Circles.

Since their first 7" came out, I've been in love with this
band.  Following each release closely, I saw them grow and mature
slowly; they never jumped by leaps and bounds.  This spring I got the
opportunity to see them the night before they started recording this album
so they naturally played almost exclusively new songs.  While the show was
excellent I was obviously clamoring for more older material.  I left the
show convinced that the new album would be near identical to the last -
not much growth but good nonetheless.  I was content with the new songs,
but they just seemed like different versions of the older material.  With
this baggage too, I listened to the new album intently.

I will admit now, though, the first time I listened to the CD I came away
thinking exactly what I expected - continuations from the first CD that I
was afraid to admit I liked less.  A few more listens blew those thought
away, though.  This album is _vastly_ superior to the first one.  The
sound is warmer and more layered; the songs are rounder and fuller.  Each
feels 20 feet deep, texture and atmosphere only hinted at on the first
album is fleshed out and flowing.  Whereas there was an element of
coldness to the first, a sort of lifeless mass that wrapped you in to it,
this one invites you, asks you to pick out the intricacies and
folds.  Tristeza still plays beautiful, crashing, exploding instrumental
rock, but this time they've expanded into bass-heavy dub, space rock, and
psychedelic, trance-inducing head-nodding.  The entire package is pulled
together beautifully by the albums final track, a peaking crescendo that
gives me the chills every time I listen to it.  While progressing yet
still  retaining their sound, Tristeza does what most bands dream of.  A
truly worthy follow up to what I though was one of last year's best
records - I'm sure this one will go down the same way.
...david smith...

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