Pin It

CD Review 

by Mike Corrigan

In "The Ghost of an Unkissed Kiss" Trembling Blue Stars' Bob Wratten bemoans a love abandoned before the complexities of a long-term relationship had a chance to set in: "We found what so many seek but it was never ours to keep. It will always be perfect but we didn't get to live it." It's sad and full of remorse but redeeming as well in its up-tempo drive and in the realization that "These are the words we'll pack away. These are the feelings that will stay." The song represents a modest departure for Wratten who, as leader (and at times sole member of) Trembling Blue Stars has made a career out of exploring the many facets of heartbreak, longing and obsession.

Wratten is a South London romantic with a flair for writing lovely and excruciatingly personal odes to life's sweetest torment. In the past, his muse came in the form of ex-girlfriend/ ex-bandmate, Annemari Davis (of the Field Mice and Northern Picture Library).

With Alive to Every Smile, Wratten seems to be slowly pulling out of the emotional tailspin that made early TBS works Her Handwriting, Lips that Taste Tears and Broken By Whispers (all more or less documenting his breakup with Davis) such beautiful agony. Even the title seems to belie a renewed interest in life's possibilities.

Musically, the album is a restatement of the band's strengths: crisp, ringing guitars, atmospheric keyboard fills, intriguing beats, Wratten's soft, detached vocals and an ambience that leads to inevitable early Cure/ Cocteau Twins comparisons. Improvements include real drums on several tracks and a newfound sonic depth that is surely the result of new additions to the TBS fold.

The occasional lull or overly anguished sentiment notwithstanding, Alive to Every Smile is shimmering with exquisite melancholy and an almost unexpected -- though certainly welcomed -- sense of hope.
Pin It

Readers also liked…


Comments are closed.

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Mammoths & Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age

Mammoths & Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through May 7

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Mike Corrigan

  • Lights, Camera, Skate
  • Lights, Camera, Skate

    Two local artists have transformed their love of skateboarding into a new variety show on Community Television.
    • Dec 14, 2011
  • For Your Consideration
  • For Your Consideration

    A raucous good time from Thee Oh Sees. Plus, vintage horror and a Berlin filmmaker to check out.
    • Nov 22, 2011
  • Time Travelers
  • Time Travelers

    For some local store owners, finding intriguing merchandise isn’t just business, it’s an obsession.
    • Nov 22, 2011
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

green zone



do something


© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation