While the song titles hint at the Mexican surroundings, the music is slow and dark.

When Jimmy LaValle decided to pursue his Album Leaf project full time, he left behind him a much longer investment: his southern California post-rock band, Tristeza. Yet instead of disbanding, the band quietly added some keyboard players, packed up the van and headed south of the border to Tijuana where it soaked in the sand and sunshine.

The result yielded 12 tracks of atmospheric bliss, and it's rather hard to believe that something so post-rocky emerged out of sleepy beach towns. While the song titles hint at the Mexican surroundings, the music is slow and dark. Most cuts see guitarist Christopher Sprague playing off of new addition keyboardist Sean Ogilvie. The middle-eastern influenced "La Tierra Sutil" is a duel between the two; Sprague takes charge in "Halo Head," bobbing up and down on ever so slight chord changes.

Over the years, most post-rock bands began dropping more and more electronics into their mix, all with varying results. "A Colores" avoids this trend and really sticks to the "rock," which is a good thing. Like instrumental masters Tortoise, the new Tristeza is much like the old, offering subtle variations on a pleasant theme. - Michael D. Ayers

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