Barbara Trentalange Turns Away From Her Lonely Past with New LP

Trentalange, Same Illusion (1/28, self-released,

Motherhood, for songwriter Barbara Trentalange, has sharpened her approach to songwriting, and this third album markedly reflects that change. Musically, Same Illusion has much in common with her first two releases; the biggest difference appears in her lyrics. The pain and loneliness that characterized her earlier work is replaced with themes of love and relationships, a shift apparent from some of the song titles: “Without Your Love,” “Freedom,” and “Reconnected.” The latter, in fact, Trentalange says, “is about this journey towards forgiving myself for all of the self-destructive beliefs I have been holding onto, and learning to love my spirit again.” You see further growth in Trentalange’s sinewy, twisting melodies, a result of the juxtaposition of contrasting elements: “Uh Huh,” in particular, plays with phrase lengths and moves abruptly to pitches outside the key, while “Reconnected” features bold harmonic contrasts nestled in an otherwise unobtrusive texture. Among the album’s more beautiful moments is the counterpoint between Trentalange’s vocals and the cello (played by Janice Lee) on “Lies.” Such moments offer a respite from the grittier, distorted guitars of the title track and “Uh Huh.” Vocally, Trentalange has a wonderful range: It’s clear and particularly compelling in the low registers, but her high notes never sound forced, recalling traces of PJ Harvey, Dido, and Sarah McLachlan. Overall, this album will please fans of Trentalange’s first two, and the optimistic turn is welcome. (Fri., Jan. 17, Columbia City Theater)

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