Taken By Trees - East of Eden (***)
album review for the skinny
Victoria Bergsman's second album as Taken By Trees is born of admirable intentions: seeking to break free from her comfort zone, she travelled with a sound engineer to Pakistan to find some local musicians to record with. So while East of Eden never strays too far from Western indie-pop norms, its South Asian instruments and backing vocalists give it a vivid sense of the exotic. Bergsman's lethargic vocals even sound like she's wilting in the heat, although, if you remember her guest spot on Peter Bjorn & John's Young Folks, that's just the way she sings. A blog-chasing cover of Animal Collective's My Girls seems unnecessary, but there are other, better moments on several tracks: the man wailing in the distance on unsettling opener To Lose Someone, the flicked-out guitar trills of Watch The Waves, the complex but gentle hand-tapped percussion of Day By Day. East of Eden is ambitiously conceived and modestly played.