Record of the month (October): Evelinn Trouble “Arrowhead”

Unknown-1Comparisons are inevitable between Linnéa Racine (alias Evelinn Trouble) and her sister compatriots, Sophie Hunger and Anna Aaron. Swiss German warrior queens unconventionally reinventing their own style and vocabulary of the feminine musical idiom. Admittedly, Trouble is the most daring and dangerous of the lot. Starting out aged 16, her 4th LP ‘Arrowhead’ marks ten years of Trouble’s eclectic, defiant stance on the alternative Swiss music scene.

This is clearly NOT easy listening

Conceptually speaking, ’Arrowhead’ flies straight at you like a the sharp, piercing foreign body it suggests to be. An epically dark, dramatic work that lends itself perfectly to the term ‘rock poetry’. Based on the idea of a travelling performer hit in the middle of the forehead by a flying arrow at the airport en route to a gig, no time to have it removed, the show must go on. The nine tracks recount the torment, anguish and rebellion of the dreamlike state that Arrowhead is thrown into. « Like a chickenless head, living among the dead, run around with my arrow in my head, cannot get my head around where to be or where to go ». It’s an opus best appreciated with some context otherwise the oppressive, trippy, melancholic vibe might be at times too relentless for the listener. This is clearly NOT easy listening. Having the lyrics to hand, studying the Ziggy Stardust-inspired visuals and accepting the rock opera tendencies all help to glean the mesmerising scope of this project.

“An orchestrated trip”

Recorded in four days at the Invada Studios in Bristol, there are flashes of Massive Attack spaciousness and Portishead introspective mournfulness. Joined by musicians Florian Götte (bass) and Domi Chansorn (drums and percussion), Evelinn Trouble wails, plays guitar and adds sound layers. There’s an angry intention behind most tracks, the production is haunting and echoey with clashing, crashing sounds symbolic of an urban anxiety dream. A trapped soul is desperate to get out, yet revolted by what it has to go back to. Mumbling, fumbling, pleading, screaming. As the press release states, « it’s an orchestrated trip ». Trouble’s restless spirit and powerful blues voice conveys this alarmingly well.

It makes sense to see the whole body of work as a journey

In conversation, she mentions her desire to make a ‘concept album’ rather like those heavy rock pieces of the 70s. « There are melodic motifs that reappear throughout ‘Arrowhead’, repeated symbolism in various tracks, so it makes sense to see the whole body of work as a journey. Everything came to me quite magically. I actually had the dream of the arrow getting stuck in my head. It came at a time when I was travelling around a lot like many musicians. I was in a constant state of confusion, no home base, no safety, the urban traveller lost in a sometimes dangerous environment. I guess this is the sentiment I’m trying to convey the most. Life is not nice and easy all the time. The arrow will eventually come out, or you just forget it’s there and you learn to live with it ».

Apart from touring the album this winter, Trouble will be performing in the Thom Luz production of ‘Unusual Weather Phenomena Project’ in Zurich. Seeing as the theatre is clearly a place she’s comfortable with, I look forward to seeing the stage production of ‘Arrowhead – The Rock Opera’ at some point in the future.

New LP
Evelinn Trouble, “Arrowhead”, Bakara Music

Forthcoming gigs:
16.10. Le Singe, Biel (CH)
17.10. Le Bateau Ivre, Mons (BE)
20.10. The Finsbury, London (UK)
21.10. Powerlunches, Dalston (UK)
22.10. Mother’s Ruin, Bristol (UK)
23.10. Shacklewell Arms, London (UK)
24.10. Mau Mau Bar, London (UK)
25.10. The Union Bar, Hastings (UK)
30.10. Moods, Zürich (CH)
31.10. Mokka, Thun (CH)

 

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