Commemorating the 30th anniversary of Cowboy Junkies' 1988 breakthrough The Trinity Session, dub-techno producer Deadbeat and singer/songwriter Fatima Camara, both of whom are Canadians residing in Berlin, recorded a full interpretation of the iconic album. Trinity Thirty attempts to preserve the lonesome, late-night vibe of the Junkies' mixture of originals, covers, and traditional tunes, keeping the arrangements stripped down to the basics. The Trinity Session, of course, was famously recorded in a church, taking advantage of the room's natural reverb, with the band and their guest musicians circled around a single microphone, and nothing was overdubbed or edited. Deadbeat and Camara didn't attempt the exact same recording process, but they did record using single microphones in a spacious studio, so the results sound vast and open. Even though the interpretation lacks the primarily acoustic instrumentation of the original, it feels surprisingly less electronic than one would expect. There's some dubby echo, to be sure, but the synths manage to have a similar glow as the guitar, fiddle, and dobro heard on The Trinity Session. Several of the tracks are slower and longer than the Junkies' versions, and "I Don't Get It" and "Walking After Midnight" are combined as a medley. While stretching the songs further out and making them even spacier might make the album seem like a slog to get through, it actually helps contribute to the overall mood, which is a bit haunting but overall quite soothing. It brings to mind the non-disco acts on Italians Do It Better, or some of Tricky's more subdued moments. Unfortunately, the vocals are what end up dragging Trinity Thirty down. It wouldn't make sense for the album to be instrumental (it would barely exist), but the singing often sounds out of tune, uninterested, or just plain grating, and it robs many of the songs of their beauty. The album is a noble gesture, but it just doesn't capture the soul, natural flow, or timelessness of the Junkies' rightful classic.
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson