MP3 Spyglass - Strategies for the Stranded
Thick, layered guitars culminate in orchestral soundscapes swirling behind deep, moody female vocals. Punctuated by occasional strings, organ and piano, Spyglass delivers a haunting pop-laced cocktail.
9 MP3 Songs
ELECTRONIC: Pop Crossover, ROCK: Psychedelic
Rockpile Issue #74, October 2001
4 Stars. Strategies for the Stranded contains passionate experimental rock providing a wide variety of sounds as well as well-crafted songs reminiscent of the noises heard on one of Radiohead''s latest collections. Vocalist Barbara Trentalange belts out her inner-most thoughts in a confident rock star manner, culminating in a sonic attack with the firm structure of a Coldplay song. The complex musical arrangements flow effortlessly throughout drastic changes, making each song a complete roller coaster ride of throaty vocals, melodic guitar and a variety of keyboard and synth noises speeding over a tightly constructed bass and drum groove.
-- Teil Linn Wise
Splendid, Sept, 2001
On their second album, Spyglass continue to take their music into lush, dark, velvety depths, with the help of Barbara Trentalange''s deep, ghostly voice and John Roth''s crafty and dissident Rhodes and Vibe melodies. While their sound compares closely to the oft-imitated-but-never-topped Portishead, with some guitar lines inspired by the other influential ''head, they have established their own unique and mature style. While the album begins with their poppiest song, "This Heaven", the songs get deeper, darker and more complex as the album unfolds. The five-piece band works exceptionally well together, using spare guitar lines to open up room for intriguing hooks and Barbara''s satisfying vocal melodies, while the bass and drums diligently drive home the groove. Strategies for the Stranded is a complex emotional puzzle that not only fits nicely together, but paints a pretty picture.
Ink19, Sept, 2001
Almost cocktail-touched grooves smooth out in waves, moving like an ocean, but thicker. Barbara Trentalange''s vocals float over the chords effortlessly and gracefully, soft as silk, deep as snow. The bass pushes out an almost dub rhythm, underneath and growling catlike against the shimmer of guitars. A slow waltz flashback, a shadowed dream of perfect days. Spyglass moves like a sad dance, but so beautiful in the turns that you have to smile, sigh, and keep dancing.
-- Marcel Feldmar
Seattle Weekly, Aug 9-15, 2001
Spyglass'' soon-to-be-released second album, Strategies for the Stranded (Pattern 25 Records), picks up where the local band''s debut left off. Moody, atmospheric, and more than a little affected by the dark din of the ''80s, Spyglass'' songs literally swirl. Barbara Trentalange''s sultry vocals wind over the part-time orchestra and plenty of guitar noise, giving the songs a Brian Eno-meets-Lush landscape.
- Laura Learmonth
Willamette Week, Sept. 19, 2001
Seattle''s Spyglass should live in a velvet world: velvet roses scattered across velvet sidewalks, cushioning the steps of velveteen libertines whose very lips are soft as pillows on a wedding bed. The Spyglass sound -- secretive female vocals harvested from the fields of 4AD Records, then dipped in an effects drenched guitar marinade and simmered over the low flame of a warm beat -- is, by turns, coquettish and climatic, but always aims to seduce. It''s like a post-goth pop cocktail that echoes and sways in your brain, whether you want it to or not. Stay away from aphrodisiacs.
-- John Graham
In Music We Trust, July 2001
Textured, layered pop sounds and sultry, cocktail female vocals, Spyglass'' sexy sound is orchestrated by combining beautifully crafted guitar on top of soft, soothing rhythms, all led by the sexy vocals that slide through the song with sophistication and grace. Spyglass'' Strategies for the Stranded is a rich, warm pop record that will relax... and give you happy dreams for quite some time. I''ll give it an A.
-- Alex Steininger (https://www.tradebit.com
Portland Mercury, Nov 15-21, 2001
Spyglass is a neat band from Seattle with luxurious, throaty vocals at its forefront. They''ve been compared to Mazzy Star, but honestly, there''s too much energy in their music to warrant that comparison--rather than drowning in the quagmire of lethargy, as the Star often did, Spyglass relies on strong melodies to sweep the listener along. The band''s guitars are full of flange-y atmosphere, but it''s done really tastefully--the flangers create texture, instead of trying to drown you in psychedelics. It''s mellow, icy music, and aims for something higher than straight-up prettiness. The melodic tension in Spyglass'' songs is what transforms it from "music my mom would listen to" to "music I currently enjoy hearing on a semi-regular basis."
Amplifier, Sept - Oct 2001
Take some mellow edgy-mood rock, poignant lyrics of loss and isolation, combine it with the sultry torch-singing style of the talented Barbara Trentalange and you get Seattle, Washington''s very own Spyglass. On its sophomore release, Strategies for the Stranded, Spyglass have orchestrated such a melancholic soundscape that there needs to be a warning label on the album''s jacket warning against the use of heavy machinery while listening. Finally, someone has out-mellowed and out-mooded Mazzy Star. This music would have been a tremendous addition to Kubricks 2001: A Space Odyssey. Listening to the first five tracks is like floating alone through space hundreds of miles above the Earth. Not until the finally energetic "China Doll" does the band seem to find a musical pulse and actually rock a little bit. " Laura Tate" is a beautifully realized and orchestrated piece complete with Soaring, and plaintive vocals...
Outburn, Issue 16
Edgy Seattle indie quintet narrowly surfaces from Wake Up Sleepyhead to explore nine Strategies For the Stranded. Lyricist Barbara Trentalange layers her lilting, worried vocals over a moody wash of guitars, keyboards, drums, bass, and the occasional castanets. "This Heaven" is the track being pushed, commencing with a touch of Ry Cooder-esque twang married to a snare drum. "Photograph" offers crescendos of guitars and nifty melody shifts. "Arch" uses dissonance and a minimalist orchestration to engaging effect. The demise of a relationship fuels "Dimming Stars" and its angry dynamics. Trentalange conjures the Celtic ire of Sinead O''Connor and The Cranberries at times. "The Longest Day" begins gently with echoes and breathiness, flitting along the boundaries of pissed off. Hairy guitars and loopy breaks in "China Doll" return us to the retro daze of psychedelia as sung by Nena of "99 Red Balloons" notoriety. "Laura Tate" resignedly lopes along, morose yet lovely, and prone to crying out. "Untethered" shimmers in its darkness--an appropriate anguished soundtrack to moving on in life. Finally, "The Rescue" hints at a mote of optimism--perhaps the tertiary Spyglass release will take an emotional upswing.
Yeah Yeah Yeah, December, 2001
Cool, dark alt-rock with a girl who sounds like an edgier version of Sara MacLachlan or Beth Orton. Solid band. Solid production. Brings to mind Bettie Serveert. Nine songs. From Seattle, where they still have a healthy scene, especially if this is part of an upstart indie roster. Better than some of the stuff Sub Pop is signing these days.
All Music Guide, Nov, 2001
Barbara Trentalange''s smoky vocals complete these dark and grainy ambient guitar-filled soundscapes. John Roth''s atmospheric keyboards are another dominating force. They swirl around, encapsulating and consuming the album''s mood of searching, questioning, and longing. Trentalange''s lyrics, deep in the mix and therefore difficult to decipher, portend depth and darkness.
-- Travis Drageset
Rock Paper Scissors, Aug 3, 2001
After Spyglass'' "Torch" EP began spinning on KCMU with great frequency a couple of years ago, critics (including myself) began stumbling over themselves in describing this Seattle quintet''s complex sound. "Haunting," "ethereal," "intense." Spyglass borrows a bit from here, a bit from there, and winds up inventing a stunning signature that is wholly their own."
- Steve Stav
The Rocket, June 21, 2000
"One of the best discs to hit Seattle shelves this year. Wake Up Sleepyhead puts a desolate, haunting voice in front of a breathtaking sonic landscape."
The Rocket, May 25, 2000
"The CD''s beauty lies in its lushness." "Wake Up Sleepyhead is intelligent night music that reveals something new with every listen." "The album is full of standout tracks."
The Seattle Times, June 2, 2000
"Singer Barbara Trentalange is mesmerizing on the band''s new CD, Wake Up Sleeyphead."
https://www.tradebit.com, Emerging Artists page, May 2000
"Seattle''s finest purveyors of dark, edgy pop. The group''s full-length debut, Wake Up Sleepyhead, finds them in full form and ready to reach a wider audience with their mix of richly textured guitars, driving rhythms, and the alluring voice of Barbara Trentalange."
https://www.tradebit.com, Chris Nickson, April 2000
"Less than a decade ago, people would have been calling this shoe-gazer music. And while it''s true that it''s dark, introspective, and guitar-driven, there''s more form to the songs here than most shoe gazers ever managed (except Lush). Spyglass have in David Einmo and John Roth two guitarists with a very strong feel for texture, coloring the songs with tones rather than solos. Barbara Trentalange might not be a perfect vocalist, but she uses her voice effectively and is able to both seduce and terrorize. There''s real strength and cohesion to the material--some of it comes close to poppy--without it ever leaving the shadows for full light..."
KCMU/KEXP Seattle, John Richard''s, Morning Show host, April 2000
"First Full length from this wonderful local outfit Spyglass. This album continues where their debut ep left off, a full sound, an amazing voice and a band that continues to evolve into something both unique and powerful. This band should be heard, and heard soon."
https://www.tradebit.com, October 1999
"With the husky yet feminine vocals (Joni Mitchell, Julia Fordham, Stereolab?) of Barb Trentalange taking the lead, the band paints broad musical soundscapes that flow with strumming guitars and the soothing whir of organ."
Pandomag, Reef Valmont, April 2000
"A magnificent debut album that lived up to expectations."
https://www.tradebit.com, Dave Liljengren, April 2000
"Layers of soaring, diaphanous, guitars teased the earthy, melancholy vocals of singer Barbara Trentalange through five songs, producing soundscapes that were both lighter than air and heavier than Bob Dylan at his most abjectly poetic."
Bangsheet, July 16, 2001
More from what is quickly becoming my favorite little record imprint these days. While the Jon Auer (ex-Posies) disc was a startling revelation from and old friend, this Spyglass bunch have a ethereal pop groove going that catches my attention despite the fact that I generally lose interest in such whisper-sung vocals. The secret, as they say, is in the sauce. And the sauce here includes a bushel or two (or, gulp, three!) of noodles. Guitar noodling, drum noodles, little sound noodles that flesh things out, and those wispy noodle fragile lyrics! Strategies for the Stranded may not be an all original sauce, but it ain''t Prego neither. (Oh, and that little ant on the back cover never fails to weird me out -- nice touch, kudos for artwork.)