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REVIEW: Andreya Triana – ‘Lost Where I Belong’

23/08/2010

I first heard Andreya Triana’s beautifully soulful voice around 12 months ago. Listening to a podcast (I can’t remember which) I spotted Flying Lotus‘ ‘Tea Leaf Dancers’ on the tracklist. Never having heard it before I assumed it to be an instrumental track but on listening Andreya’s voice wafted through my speakers. I fell in love instantly with her smoky, sultry tones and made it my mission to find out who this lady was. As it turned out a simple google search gave me the answer within seconds.

Fast forward a few months and Bonobo’s ‘The Keeper’ started popping up on various music sites. Taking a slightly more organic, jazzier path than the Flying Lotus track, here Andreya sounded even better. Reading up on her (and her association with Bonobo) I learnt that, in addition to supplying vocals for Bonobo’s upcoming album Black Sands (released March 2010), Andreya was working on her own album, with Bonobo on production duties. The album title track surfaced late last year and I was instantly hooked. Her subtle mix of folk, soul and jazz combined beautifully on the melancholy tale of disillusionment. Over the next few months youtube videos of Andreya covering Donny Hathaway’s ‘I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know’ and Chaka Khan’s ‘Aint Nobody’ upped the ante even further, as did her appearance on 3 tracks on Bonobo’s fantastic Black Sands. Now here we are, August is upon us, and we get to hear the whole album in all it’s glory.

Clocking in at only 9 tracks, and less than 40 minutes, I thought that maybe, after such high hopes, I might be a bit disappointed with Lost Where I Belong. Not for lack of quality, from what I had heard so far that was pretty much a given, but with a running time less than some EPs, I felt that there may not have been enough room for Andreya to show herself off to the full. Well, in hindsight I need not have worried. With LWIB Andreya and Bonobo have given us (in my opinion) one of the best, most accomplished debut albums in recent memory.

The album kicks off with the dreamy ‘Draw The Stars’, the perfect opener which instantly draws you in and holds you under it’s spell. Andreya’s voice, coupled with Bonobo’s feathery beats and folky guitar sound perfect together. The whole album follows in a similar hazy, soulful vein, with only one or two minor departures. Some reviews I have read point to this as a negative aspect of the album, in that it all sounds ‘the same’. I would disagree, and in fact I would argue that it is one of the albums strong points. It’s cohesive and maintains a certain overall feel which makes it very easy to listen from start to finish. The ‘minor’ departures mentioned previously come in the shape of ‘Town Called Obsolete’ and ‘Up In Fire’. While neither can be described as uptempo, they are welcome additions and certainly add abit more energy to the typically languid pace of the other tracks.

If I had to pick favourites from the bunch I would find it extremely difficult, however if pressed I would single out ‘Far Closer’ and ‘X’ for a special mention. ‘Far Closer’ is in the running for my favourite track of 2010. It perfectly showcases Andreya’s distinctive vocal style and has a real summer-day vibe not to mention a killer hook. ‘X’ is a definite standout from a song writing perspective and is a hauntingly beautiful tale of lost love.

For me Andreya is definitely one of the standout talents to emerge in 2010, and ‘Lost Where I Belong’ is right up there with the best releases of the year (it is certainly the best debut album of 2010). I cannot wait to see her perform these tracks live at her album launch this Thursday, and I’m even more excited to hear what she will come up with next.

You can purchase the album on LP/CD/MP3 direct from Ninja Tune here.

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