The sophomore effort from Tres Chicas - Caitlin Cary (ex-Whiskeytown, Tonya Lamm (ex-Hazeldine) and Lynn Blakey (Glory Fountain) - was recorded in London and features the production work of Neil Brockbank and Robert Trehern and guest appearances by Nick Lowe and Geraint Watkins. The broadened instrumentation and musical range found on the new record serves to better highlight the impeccable interplay between their voices and the passionately romantic, soulfully earthbound stories of love contained within their lyrics. Yep Roc. 2006.
For their second album, alt-country veterans Caitlin Cary, Lynn Blakey, and Tonya Lamm turned from North Carolina to England to join producers Neil Brockbank and Robert Trehern (who have worked with Nick Lowe and Van Morrison), as well as a clutch of guests including Lowe, Bill Kirchen, and Geraint Watkins, whose classy piano carries their melodies. Neo-gospel opener "Drop Me Down," a Lou Ford cover, establishes a theme of spiritual and personal renewal, which unfolds through the album's serene, lightly-stringed sound. The singers take advantage of the space to build some of the most lush, intricate female harmonies since Emmylou, Dolly, and Linda formed Trio
. Tempo can be a problem, however, turning languid and bleary midway through the album, with only "The Man of the People" (a jab at phony populism) and "If You Think That It's All Right" (a jazzy two-step take on an obscure Johnny Carver song) picking up the pace. All three singers contribute original tunes, and all three tend to strain after poetic effect. Love is compared to 400 flamingos preening in the water, while a broken heart bleeds red as a red barn. And while the album may not contain the Chicas' strongest songs, it expertly expands their sound via shades of soul and British folk-rock into temperate country-pop atmospheres. --Roy Kasten