The Trick Is Not Minding

Written by: TL on 20/09/2014 17:47:28

Hailing from Orlando, Florida, Henrietta is the name of a young quartet that recently put out a debut album by the name "The Trick Is Not Minding", which strikes me as wonderfully grammatically ambiguous title. And behind the horizon motif of the record's cover you find ten tracks of warm, organic indie/alternative rock that I've already seen earn the band a mention here and there around the internet. Upon checking the album out it is a somewhat unusual listen however, which goes for sort of a middle of the road energy, being too loud and busy to set a particularly subtle or sensitive mood, yet sticking to mid-tempo and relaxed dynamics that stands distinctly apart from the urgency of your average modern rock record.

Somewhat reminiscent of the defunct but often missed Dear And The Headlights, or of some of the newer, less melancholic Saves The Day songs, the instrumental backdrop is fairly intricate, to the point of sounding like the band has stubbornly opted to let their ideas shape their own structures, in front of which the vocals deliver a nice, characteristic performance. The voice is peculiar in its toasty tone, making you go back and forth between wanting to say that it would sit right at home in one of the many raspy punk rock bands of current times, and wanting to compare it to AJ Perdomo of The Dangerous Summer, only in a less affected, more introverted appearance. The style is hard to pigeonhole, which is fortunately only a problem for reviewers, because it is also clearly very easy on the ear, encouraging you to dive in already on first listen.

Regretably, upon diving, the impression is that some of that mentioned stubborness has taken precedence over the notion of writing some songs that meet the listener halfway. As mentioned the vocals seem introverted, like focus has been too much on the tones and too little on the meaning, meaning that you quickly lose the feeling that the band wants to communicate with you, and the instruments seem to get stuck in a mood that feels more laid back and indulgent than emotive or evocative - like they're pondering the layers of what's being sung about yet without any feelings actually being engaged.

At least that's the impression that lingers where a more focused record might have placed some memorable parts for a review to gush over. The quiet "Brutus" is perhaps the best suggestion as a highlight, with the way the guitar and vocals work in minimalist lockstep, and the rare up-beat opening to "Constantinople" also hints of some potential. But when the ten tracks are up and you take a view from the top, it's persistently difficult to look back and point out anything that's impressively well-resolved. A nice start in terms of soundscape then, but more diversity and impact is needed in the songwriting.


Download: Brutus, Constantinople
For The Fans Of: Saves The Day (on later albums), Dear And The Headlights, Sleep In, The Dangerous Summer
Listen: facebook.com/Henriettafl

Release date 19.08.2014
Animal Style Records

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