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  Album: Listen to the
Artist: Brandon Trinity
Label: Independent Release (2001)
Length: 12 Tracks (56:58 minutes)

Given the surname of the artist in question, it seems only fitting that Listen to the, the first release from California Bay Area keyboardist Brandon Trinity, should spring forth as the work of a musical trio of sorts.  Appropriating the lyrical skills of co-arranger Stuart Lee and the vocal talent of Kristina Wavrick, Trinity and his team cook up a lively assortment of synth-based dance-pop tunes.  The rock-steady rhythms and short, repeated synth riffs of "True Love" and "Dance Around the World" place the tracks somewhere near the epicenter of the trance subgenre.  The insistently frenetic character of "How Does It Feel," on the other hand, positions it closer to the hard trance side of the equation.  The prominent melodic content and undergirding pop sensibility of "Let's Get This Music Pumpin," by comparison, fits squarely alongside the energetic Euro-dance propagated by artists like Aqua and Ace of Base.

Lyrically, nearly all of Listen's songs fall beneath its overarching themes of love, peace and dancing.  While phrases like "live in harmony for your life to be free" and "let the music loudly play 'til the sky begins to fall" are hardly the stuff of starting wars or ending poverty, they nonetheless possess an arguable merit as the only logical and fitting companions to the album's decidedly upbeat musical section.  Indeed, given the universality of its topics, a more verbose approach for Listen might very well have worked to dampen, rather than illuminate, its sunny subject matter.  As it stands, the sentiments above fairly encapsulate the album's thesis as a whole, placing it in refreshingly stark contrast to much of the alternately brooding and aggressive material that currently inhabits the modern pop and rock domains.

Perhaps interestingly enough, the most striking feature of the album is its non-vocal entries.  Instrumentals such as "Quest" and "Mystery" possess a driving rhythm and elevated sense of tenacity that seats them and their two counterparts among the record's most gripping numbers.  To be sure, even minus words, the instrumental tracks are intricate and varied enough to seem far shorter than their generous running times would indicate - a good sign for songs of any musical style.  While Listen does feature a smattering of nondescript material and repetition, the bulk of the project winds up hitting the proverbial musical sweet spot, making for an impressive opening bow into the electronic arena, particularly for an independent artist.  Very nicely done.

Bert Gangl 6/16/2002



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