Lissy Trullie first appeared in early 2009, with her debut EP Self-Taught Learner. A collection of five self-penned numbers, plus a superb cover version of Hot Chip‘s Ready For The Floor, she seemed custom-made to fit into the lineage of arty New Yorkers – the talent was there, it just needed polishing a bit. It seemed pretty obvious that Lissy Trullie would go on to be a big name in 2009.
It wasn’t quite to be though, as after Self-Taught Learner, Truille seemed to disappear. She’d pop up occasionally in fashion spreads, but there was no sign of any music from her. Until now that is. Three years on, Truille has emerged, clutching her debut album.
Produced by TV On The Radio‘s Dave Sitek, and signed to Wichita Records, Truille obviously has quite the team behind her. It’s an impression secured by the impact of the opening track Rules We Obey, a slow building anthem with a hint of Arcade Fire to it. There are bursts of brass behind Trullie’s smokey vocals, and it all builds up to a glorious climax.
It’s Only You Isn’t It is another excellent New Wave stomper with a chorus built to sing along to, while I Know Where You Sleep is in a similar vein, despite sounding like it could pass for a stalking anthem. Each track here is a decent slice of radio-friendly guitar pop, yet there remains a nagging impression that there’s something missing somewhere.
For the main problem with Trullie’s debut is that it sounds a bit dated. If it had been released back in, say, the summer of 2009, it could well have been a contender for album of the year. Yet the overriding impression now is that this has been done before, and as well written and gutsily performed as most of these tracks are, it’s lacking that certain something that would propel it to greatness.
Trullie has a decent voice – a low smokey growl that invokes Chrissie Hynde or even Karen O at times – and she certainly has a good ear for a hook, as Spit You Out and Madeline would confirm. Yet there’s not enough character here to make a lasting impression: by the time Heart Sound and Glass Mountain come around, the album’s begun to sound much of a muchness.
It’s certainly not a bad album, but for those of us who have followed Truille’s career from the start, and have been waiting for this album for so long, it’s a disappointing one. However, there’s certainly potential, and there’s enough here to suggest that, given a producer who can bring out her personality a little more, she could well produce that truly impressive record which Self-Taught Learner hinted at.