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The Tryst: Truth Be Told (Self-Released) 

The Tryst is nothing if not ambitious.

Their third studio album, Truth Be Told, once again recombines the genres of popular music history like Legos into abstract shapes: a little Sheryl Crow pop in the vocals; an Anita O'Day croon; some jazzy, silky brushing on a floor tom; lots of funk-twang bass; a dollop of orchestral funk; and the occasional acoustic folk.

It's all heard in this collection of 13 songs, produced in Tucson's musical playpen: Wavelab Studio. Truth even ramps things up with a torrent of big-band brass and reeds; a soupçon of hip-hop; and some sweet harmonies.

Legos, though, have inherent rules and structure, and although foraging among genres isn't uncommon, The Tryst are exceptionally experimental; their songs are unpredictable and apt to head in unexpected directions. Although Keli Carpenter's sure vocals are always out front, the band is in it with her more than for her, and the influence of individual players is heard on every track.

Similarly, each song on Truth stands alone. If few leave behind a hummable chorus, though, it won't be because the words are unfamiliar: Lyrics often revolve around all but universally familiar experiences in relationships. Rather, it may only be because the listener has rarely heard those themes set in music that matches their complexity.

More by Linda Ray

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