Andreya Triana - Lost Where I Belong
Most of us were first introduced to Andreya Triana when Bonobo’s album Black Sands came out earlier this year. She was the featured vocalist on three tracks. It certainly caught my attention, and I was excited to learn that her solo debut would come out later the same year, with Bonobo producing. Well, the short wait is over, and it’s time to listen.
While Black Sands has a dreamy sound that includes lots of instrumental works that needs a patient listener to wait for all the layers to build, Lost Where I Belong has a more immediate impact. While there are sounds and textures that definitely connect the two albums, Triana has worked with Bonobo on this project to create a more pop-friendly R&B flavored album.
The opening number, “Draw the Stars,” is a gentle number with strings and bells setting the tone as Triana lets her sultry vocals lead us through the melody. Bonobo arranges the music in a way that is subtle but keeps the listener interested, as instruments and drums come in and out, with the vocals remaining the only constant throughout. It reminds me of the work Warren Defever did on the His Name is Alive album Someday My Blues Will Cover The Earth.
Songs like the title track, “A Town Called Obsolete,” “Far Closer,” and “Up In Fire,” are all catchy numbers that place her in the company of other contemporary British soul singers, such as Adele or Joss Stone. Funky mid-tempo grooves, horn sections, smooth bass, and Triana’s smoky vocals all come together nicely. Based on these songs, I hope she reaches a wide audience.
On other songs, such as “X,” Daydreamers,” or “Darker Than Blue,” the music slows down and Triana and Bonobo play a bit more with song structure and instrumentation, especially with vocal layering. It also foregrounds Triana’s lyrics, which are more than up to the task. She is clearly not writing filler lyrics, but has specific ideas and that demonstrates her storytelling ability. There are intimate tales between two people as well as abstract ideas. Most importantly, it all works in conversation with the instrumentation and song structre.
When I heard that Triana’s album was coming out, I wasn’t sure of what to expect. I knew she was a talented singer, but that doesn’t always translate to success across an entire album. Now I know that she had a vision the entire time. You don’t have this solid of a debut by accident.