The latest album by the San Diego post-rockers has a cyclical, spacey ambience that can become hypnotically bland if you spend too much time fixated on it.
The first album released on the San Diego post-rock group’s Darla-distributed imprint Sanity Muffin, Paisajes is a record that never really starts or ends so much as simply exists. Imbued with the enveloping weightlessness common to such instrumental dreamscapes, Paisajes is primarily defined by a cyclical, spacey ambience that’s similar to that feeling you get from looking at a computer monitor screen-saver: it can be awfully pretty, but it can also become hypnotically bland if you spend too much time fixated on it. Throughout, sonic colorings like saxophone and violin add some distinctive shade to Tristeza’s endless chiming guitar lines and psychedelic touches. But it’s the surprise detours that most distinguish the band on Paisajes -- witness "Sand & Coral", which after a few teasing fits and restarts gathers up speed, accompanied by a screeching sax. It's moments like those that prove that a bit more daring and personality could do the group some good.