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Eartheater - Trinity Music Album Reviews

Eartheater - Trinity Music Album Reviews
A mixtape made with half a dozen New York producers tilts the experimental producer’s left-field tendencies toward full-on dance music, but her signature oblique vocals remain a slippery presence.

Alexandra Drewchin titled the fourth full-length release under her Eartheater alias as a nod to the three states matter can commonly take: solid, liquid, and gas. It’s a fitting conceit to drape over her work, which tends to melt from concrete pop forms into ominous miasma and back again. Trinity, a mixtape made in collaboration with half a dozen New York producers including AceMo and Tony Seltzer, crystallizes Drewchin’s experimental slant into a full set of dance music built around her signature oblique vocals. Without sacrificing Eartheater’s compelling strangeness, Drewchin has assembled the project’s most accessible and triumphant offering to date.


Dance beats skittered here and there on past Eartheater records, but more often than not they worked as texturing tools against the rest of Drewchin’s nebulous compositions. On “Curtains,” from 2018’s IRISIRI, a rave beat pulsed against sheets of placid harp, as though leaking into an orchestral musician’s practice session from an upstairs apartment. Trinity hews closer to the traditional dynamics of dance music: Its songs take beats for their backbones, even if those beats often lurch uneasily through dizzying arrangements. For every element on Trinity that’s easy to grasp, another repels and confuses the ear. On “High Tide” and “Supersoaker,” glassy synthesizer riffs echo late-’90s radio trance, while the blunt bass drums on “Pearl Diver” recall avant-garde strains of contemporary hip-hop.

Throughout the record, Drewchin’s voice closes off the easy access points of dance pop, which in its most mainstream incarnations tends to flood listeners with dopamine at every chorus. Layered and thinned with reverb, her singing remains slippery, her lyrics often tricky to pin down. Ostensibly these are love songs, and yet their streaks of affection drip out in confusing, contradictory ways, in double negatives and barely intelligible whispers. “I don’t wanna regret/Something I didn’t do/With you,” Drewchin sings on “Runoff”—a statement that starts out with what sounds like hesitation, which turns into abandon by the end of the sentence.

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Because her presence is often elusive, it tends to beckon the ear to sink deeper into each song, to grasp at a salient phrase or an especially tuneful melody. Drewchin makes it easy to get lost in her ambiguous sound worlds, which don’t seem to have clear boundaries but always appear to be deepening in volume.

Trinity’s tensions build toward its final song and thesis statement, “Solid Liquid Gas.” Rather than end the record on an uncertain, sour note, Drewchin and producer Hara Kiri give it the sendoff it deserves—an unleashed, cathartic dance track where Drewchin’s voice clears away the mist that had clung to it. “Don’t make me wait!” she demands, her voice dense and sharp over a frothing synthesizer arpeggio. If latent desire percolates throughout Trinity, voiced in hushed tones, then “Solid Liquid Gas” gives Drewchin the chance to finally let her wanting rush out of her. It’s a blissful release that bursts past the cerebral parameters of her prior work and into new territory—the kind of song that jolts through the whole body, thrilling as it goes.


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