Daisies by Alyssa Trahan
- Album Review
Rochester based singer-songwriter Alyssa Trahan released her latest EP on November 15th, Daisies, before her move to Nashville to pursue her music career.
Daisies by Alyssa Trahan
Released on November 15th, Alyssa Trahan’s Daisies began a whirlwind tour of promotions; an appearance on Kickin’ Country 105.3, an interview on 98.9 The Buzz tonight, and a performance before an Amerks game. Thankfully she found time to talk to some dude with a website before all this so he could squeeze in an album review before her move to Nashville. Daisies is more than worth the victory lap that Trahan has been giving it the past week. In anticipation of her big move to Nashville, the EP, which was recorded there, has Tennessee country fingerprints all over it, underneath a great foundation of Trahan’s songwriting.
Even though Trahan describes herself as a country singer of the pop persuasion, Daisies moves away from the poppy sound of some of her early work, and instead focuses on crafting music that accesses her lower register, as well as great orchestration with earthier and down-to-earth sounds. Although the Nashville is evident, each track as something different to offer, with varying styles and texture changes that make the seventeen-minute blaze past.
The title track begins the album. The open is soft and open, setting the scene of a meadow, fitting the theme of the song. With a mid-tempo groove, the song explores the open soundscape of meadow with lovely lush orchestration, distinctly placing the narrator of the song sitting on grass with a daisy overlooking a plain. Lyrically it covers the cliché of a girl with a flower, pulling petals chanting, “he loves me, he loves me not.” That said, Trahan lyrics combine a simplicity that isn’t too on the nose, but is plenty charming. She makes the foreseeable bridge (“he loves me”…) soft and endearing. The melody was a wonderful treat. It has a very palpable classical quality, with perfectly placed dissonances, suspensions, and resolution that adds a juxtaposition of complexity in a simply lyrical theme. The gem of the EP opens it.
“I Love Your Truck” is the second song of the album, with a music video will be coming within the next few weeks. Although the word “truck” immediately takes the listener to a “redneck country”(in the words of Trahan) place, the song is actually a cute surprise. The most poppy song on the album, the tune tells the story of the narrator falling for a guy’s Chevy, not him. His bewilderment and her insistence to drive the truck carries the tune. The Nashville and bluegrass influences are prominent, with texture changes reminiscent of her single, “I Like It.”
The third track of the album, “Fire and Gasoline” startles the listener with industrial sound of hard rock and metal. It transitions into a gritty rock tune, with an attitude of Joan Jett. Telling the story of a volatile relationship, Trahan uses her darker sound to convey a tougher sound, rather than that of a lullaby. The softer bridge is a nice texture change, with a hint of bluegrass violin. It’s clear Trahan drew influence from a different place for this track, and it is a unique mid-EP break.
The second to last song, “Happy,” not to be confused with Pharell’s song, is another surprise on the album. The listener would expect a perky and faster tune, but instead it opens with a piano and guitar, and smoothly becomes a lullaby. The narrator is talking a younger girl; either a sister, daughter, or a younger version of herself. It’s soothing, reassuring, and is precisely the way any young person would want to hear that they will eventually find love someday. A truly touching piece, Trahan uses her dark, lower register pristinely, which leaves the listener needing a wistful and contemplative moment to savor the silence when the tune ends. Sparsely textured, but with excellent orchestration, it makes a strong case to be the title track instead.
Attitude is the name of the game of “I Know,” the final track on the album. With a tone of woman with her hands on her hips and sideways stance that would make any man who’s in trouble squirm, Trahan takes her lower sound and milks it to the max. The song tells how a woman knows of her man’s other woman. While it’s a common theme, Trahan and the band create a perfect mischievous sound with a Southern rock shuffle feel and dark chords. It’s a fun way to end the album.
Daisies by Alyssa Trahan is an excellent EP that will make anyone who isn’t a country to take another look at country, or at the very least become an instant fan of Trahan. Her lower register, the orchestration, variety of textures and styles, making the listener want more.
Daisies is available on iTunes, and in hard copies.