Album Review: Tristen – CAVES

Score: 7/10

Chicago-area singer / songwriter tour de force Tristen keeps it coming with a new turn towards straightforward pop and no country twist.

Published by JB on October 28, 2013
Release date: October 8, 2013

Two years after one of 2011’s most charming country folk-tinged indie pop records, Charlatans At The Garden Gate, 29-year old Tristen Gaspadarek follows suit with a set of surprisingly lush, well produced (and dare I say) rather straight-forward pop tracks.  Veering abruptly away from the alt-country sound of Charlatans, she separates herself now from chart-bubbling indie/country groups such as Stockholm’s outstanding First Aid Kit.   However the familiar traits are apparent with the same youthful, exuberant lead vocals, the simple melodies and the crafty songwriting. Comparing standout tracks from Charlatans such as ‘Matchstick Murder’ to the vibrant pop (‘Catalyst’ sounds like Madonna from 20 years ago) of CAVES is actually a rather dramatic production shift and a signal from Tristen of a desire to grow beyond Charlatan’s folk glory.  My guess is that CAVES will be the most pop sounding record of her catalog as her creativity merges into other areas and her roots reappear.  A truly delightful catalog in the making thus far.  A synergy between the wonderful folk flavor of this album’s predecessor and the lush pop here would be a welcome marriage later on.


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