Thursday, 11 July 2013

Trail and Ways

Trails & Ways  |  Divan Orange


'Bossa Nova Dream Pop' is the predominant label that follows Trails and Ways' music. Such a lovely mangling of words leaves one to imagine sultry Latin rhythms and paradisiacal ambience, which is pretty much what this band offers. I always enjoy venue-hopping on behalf of Soupe Kitchen, but Trails and Ways' effortless brand of sound got me particularly excited for their show at Divan Orange on June 19th.
I walked in early enough to catch the middle of Fire/Works' set. I'd seen this band play a little while ago at La Sala Rossa, where they were not quite ecstatically received in context with the other bands of the night. The singer was performing with a bad bout of indigestion which I bet didn't help things. They seemed to be in much better shape here; the guitar was strummed with purpose-driven swings and the vocals echoed crystalline in the slightly orange bar. If the singer had any gassy sensations, he was masking them like a pro, joking during the interims, playing beautifully, breaking a small sweat. The songs were replete with creepy chords and rural hymning: tales of concrete jungles that started off as lullabies and evolved into heated soundscapes that filled the room. They messed around with some reggae stuff towards the end, which was surprising and in the universal scope of things, quite nice.
The four members of Trails and Ways took the stage single-file, ready to soak us all in some sun. They stood facing us for a moment, their retinas burning into ours, then they broke into a confrontational bout of rhythmic clapping on some obscure time signature. The bassist began a haunting chant of 'Dao. Dao, dao,' and the other members provided vocal harmonies. This marked the intro to 'Como Te Vas,' a song as weird and catchy as you'd expect from these guys. They asked us how we were and our bobbing heads resounded in a big, collective 'Good.'
After an extended intro I realized that the second song of their set was 'Nunca.' The Woo's coming from the front section of the crowd told me I wasn't the only one. I had interrupted the band's supper at a Vietnamese restaurant earlier and asked them how they felt about the growing attention they've been getting. They said they felt more appreciation towards their fans than anything else. That appreciation manifested itself as easy smiles on the four musicians' faces as they played their breakthrough track. They each swayed romantically, their eyes almost rolling behind their heads in sheer sonic synchronicity. The drummer (who played standing up the whole night; first time I've seen that) was dancing all over his kit; the bassist was aiming chunky beams of love toward our guts; the rhythm guitarist seemed to be on Saturn and never missed a beat; the lead guitarist had this anthemic, saxophonic tone to her instrument, and her notes conveyed a long forgotten happiness in being in the present.
Besides the drummers' lack of a stool, I found it quite interesting that the band members all had their turn to take the vocal lead. Each new voice brought something completely foreign and right-brained to the picture. That, along with the band's amazing versatility in their songwriting, made for a truly unique show. I was correct in looking forward to them for so long.
Trails and Ways seem to be at a pretty optimistic place right now. The music video for 'Nunca' hit over 100,000 views on Youtube after little over a year, and they're now at the tail-end of a hectic North American tour. They just released 'Trilingual," a five song EP that is as fun and sweatly sweaty as modern Californian music can get. They are young and inspired, with a limitless future ahead. I wish them all the world and more.


back to top