It's been a while coming, but not due to a dearth of material. Californian electro-indiepop band Trails and Ways have released a lot of singles since their 'Trilingual' EP two years ago, and now we have a debut album. The time inbetween has served them well, because on 'Pathology' we find the quartet sounding confident, consistent and like a group who've really found their feet and produced a cohesive set of songs, despite the variation that comes with them sharing the role of lead vocalist.
It's clear that Trails and Ways have set out to make a "pop" record, although not in a plastic, chart-fodder kind of way. However, all of these songs are easy on the ear whilst delving into less common sounds while they're at it. Take the exotic 'Nunca' as an example of Trails and Ways' willingness to incorporate any sounds they like into their music. 'Skeletons' finds '80s elecro mingling with dreampop (thanks to the production and soft voices, the entire record has a certain dream-like charm). It's not often that you come across band capable of mixing Prince and The Cocteau Twins together on the same track, as they do on 'Say You Will'.
They go slightly tribal on 'Mtn Tune' which does, to a certain extent, recall early Vampire Weekend in the way music from a variety of sources is thrown together to forge a jittery, catchy, upbeat track. The foot is taken off the pedal on the tingling 'Heavy Sleeper' as well as the more acoustic but still lush 'Terezinha', which is perhaps influenced by music drifting across from the nearby border with Mexico, yet bigger beats appear on 'Downright'. There's also jangly guitar-pop in the form of 'Defined'. You never quite know what's coming next on 'Pathology', but you can be sure it won't feel out of place. Trails and Ways know exactly what path they're on.