Nothing here is reticent, nothing is withdrawn, everything is enlarged, every emotional balloon the size of a zeppelin. Awakening, Level One is a kind of Grand Guignol pop, with keyboards zooming and guitars moaning while Trentalange sings “Fire! Fire lights the skies!” and “I am the ultimate machine!” and other dramatic things. It’s like Massive Attack, but less lugubrious or delicate. When she sings the word fear in “Fear”, it isn’t an ordinary little, “Fear,” or even, “Fee-ah,” it’s “Feee-ah-ah-ah-AHH ah ah!” and the electronic backing makes big eyes at you and hoots up and down like a kid in a dark room, scaring herself with ghosts. Awakening, Level One has just the right mix of seriousness and exaggeration to be enjoyable, but not enough to take it beyond enjoyable into more heartfelt territory.
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// Notes from the Road
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