Vapour Trails (Crammed Discs)
Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., Feb. 29, 2008
TuxedomoonVapour Trails (Crammed Discs)
Once labelmates with the Residents, this native San Francisco group's strange, unwieldy late-1970s output got more arch when it relocated to Belgium in the 1980s. Vapour Trails, recorded by the quartet in Greece, is far jazzier, darker, and fully formed than anything they've done. Smoldering opener "Muchos Colores," sung in Spanish, leads into the massive, muscular chorus of "Still Small Voice," an excellent one-two punch before the ambient piano, trumpet, and skin crawl of "Kubrick." Standout "Dark Temple" encapsulates what Vapour Trails does effortlessly: shape-shifting. Molten blips dance on Luc Van Lieshout's seductive trumpet, giving way to somber piano and menacing guitar as singer/multi-instrumentalist Steven Brown intones, "I'd offer up an offering, for every good thing come my way, and maybe not so good." Closer "Wading Into Love" is a perfect, relaxed ending. Evolution has yielded Tuxedomoon's best.