Music News

Critic's Choice

Tristeza, Friday, November 3, at the Raven, with Dressy Bessy, Plus Ones and the Oranges, is in love with the finer points of instrumentation. The quintet, which operates unapologetically without a vocalist, straddles both emo and rock styles while transcending the usual constraints of rock-and-roll songwriting. Hardly an art project, though, the band also eschews many of the conventions employed by indie instrumental acts: It doesnt aim to impress its audiences with pendulum swings of mood and tempo, nor does it parade an over-indulged set of chops through its songs. Rather, Tristeza cuts through ethereal soundscapes with a sometimes playful, sometimes introspective blend of bass, keyboards and paired guitar melodies. With a sound reminiscent of a postmodern Tangerine Dream, Tristeza is impressive but not showy. Its music shimmers with a detailed intricacy that somehow appears effortless.
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Matt Schild