The mystique of the celluloid served as inspiration for Dusty Trails' self titled debut album, and with an eclectic mix of bongos, keyboards, strings, and sultry vocals, the finished product plays like a well-crafted soundtrack. The band is comprised of Vivian Trimble, who provided keyboard work and backing vocals for Luscious Jackson until 1998, and Josephine Wiggs, who played bass for the Breeders. Fans looking for hints of their prior work on Dusty Trails will be out of luck for it explores new territory for both. Similarities can be drawn between Dusty Trails and Stereolab's Dots and Loops, due to their similar '60s pop flair, and Trimble and former Luscious Jackson mate Jill Cunniff's work as the Kostars. The pair's side project, which produced the album Klassics with a K, featured a similar light and breezy vibe that resonates throughout the record. The album contains a healthy mix of instrumental pieces and lyric-based tracks that feature Trimble's airy vocals. Her ultra-feminine voice relaxes the listener, creating a feeling reminiscent of a lazy summer afternoon. It's easy to get comfortable with the album's instrumental tracks as well. "Spy in the Lounge," which offers a '70s groove complete with a trombone solo; "Conga Style," with its infectious bongo riff; as well as the spaghetti western stylings of "Dusty Trails Theme" all provide laid back listening. The two stand-out moments on the album, though, are provided by the band's guest vocals. Cunniff provides vocals on "Roll the Dice," creating an upbeat funky moment reminiscent of Luscious Jackson at their finest. Country legend Emmylou Harris also grabs the listener with her powerful vocals on the track "Order Coffee" and in the process provides an emotional telling of lost love. Each track on Dusty Trails tells a separate story and because of this the listener is left with a unique set of feelings after each song. Despite this fact, the album is never choppy and flows together nicely. Although it is never overpowering, Dusty Trails is too well crafted to be reduced to mere background music. Instead, it slips innocuously into one's subconscious, serving as the soundtrack to life's ongoing cinematic moments.
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AllMusic Review by Stephanie Patafio
feat: Emmylou Harris