Dusty Trails

On the back cover of its CD, Dusty Trails, a duo featuring ex-Breeder Josephine Wiggs and Luscious Jackson alum Vivian Trimble, describes its sound as “a synthesis of elegance and groove.” To be more accurate, Dusty Trails is like elevator music for a swank multistory night spot, or on-hold music to entertain callers at a hip record store. The instrumentals qualify as mood music, with “St. Tropez” teetering perilously close to smooth jazz and “Spy in the Lounge” plunging over the edge. The tunes with vocals offer more spark, as both Wiggs and Trimble are adept at cooing in key and delivering wispy harmonies. Emmylou Harris makes a stellar guest turn, adding a jolt to the otherwise decaffeinated “Order Coffee.” Songs such as “Roll the Dice,” which invites the rest of Luscious Jackson to join the jam session; “They May Call Me a Dreamer,” which brings to mind the mellow moments of Smashing Pumpkins’ Gish; and “You Freed Yourself,” which is bouncy with a morose undercurrent, provide subtle yet ethereal entertainment. In its entirety, however, the album produces the vibe of one of those Volkswagen commercials that co-opts ambient electronica. It’s nonthreatening enough to win crossover interest from a crowd that knows nothing about either The Breeders or Luscious Jackson, but longtime fans might be left wishing for less “elegance” and more groove.

Categories: Music