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Emma Tricca's Aspirin Sun is much more than the sum of its excellent individual parts

"Aspirin Sun"

Release date: 07 April 2023
Emma Tricca - Aspirin Sun cover
07 April 2023, 00:00 Written by Janne Oinonen

As our attention spans wither amidst easily distracted quests for instant gratification and fleeting dopamine hits, it’s becoming harder to find albums that opt for the slow burn of gradually accumulating rewards for the patient listener.

Italian-born, London-based songwriter Emma Tricca’s fourth album (first for Bella Union) is one such increasingly rare gem: the whole of Aspirin Sun is considerably more than the sum of its parts. For the album’s multi-layered riches and carefully cultivated moods of loss, displacement and restless contemplation to properly sparkle, it demands – and deserves – to be taken in as an uninterrupted listening experience, from the first track to the last.

There are traces of Tricca’s more straight-forward singer-songwriter roots here: the slightly cracked, deliberately off-focus vocals bring to mind the legendary lost genius of Greenwich Village folk club scenes Karen Dalton, whilst the fat, rootsy acoustic guitar chords at the core of many of the album’s eight tracks resemble a cross between Nick Drake and Bert Jansch. However, Aspirin Sun operates on a considerably broader and wilder canvas.

Recorded in New York on either side of the Covid pandemic with the band (including Steve Shelley from Sonic Youth and Dream Syndicate guitarist Jason Victor) from Tricca’s previous album, 2018’s St. Peter, and tinged with the passing of Tricca’s father, many of the album’s tracks stretch out unhurriedly as the richly textured arrangements take in frazzled psychedelic unrealism – woozy yet storming build-ups of heavy-lidded shoegaze and the turbulent rhythmic freak-outs of prime Krautrock a la Neu! and Can. Even as tracks drift past the ten-minute mark (the majestic, by turns, rumbling and dreamy psych-folk-rock centrepiece “Ruben’s House”), the results never toy with needlessly noodling self-indulgence. Songs such as the impossibly moving, alluringly mysterious “Leaves” and the mariachi trumpet-enriched, haunting and hypnotic closer “Time and Space” are strong enough to shine if they were stripped down to their bare essentials. Still, the album’s kaleidoscopic rush of sounds turns them into something exceptional.

The result is a hugely compelling, powerfully inviting album that manages to be simultaneously and seamlessly equal parts intimate and epic, experimental and elementally down to earth – often simultaneously. A perfectly formed gem, in other words.

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