It’s not every day that we are graced with a voice as angelic and alluring as that of Andreya Triana. Many fans received just a taste of what the UK-based soulstress has to offer on Bonobo’s Black Sands. However, after just one listen to Andreya’s debut album, Lost Where I Belong, it is evident that there is something more to her than just a siren-sweet song. Andreya is captivating because there is something hidden below the surface – something mysterious and perhaps just a bit dark.
Even on the bubbly title track, Andreya refers to her surroundings as “an empty place” noting that she is “hoping to feel hope.” Uneasy lines such as those are subtle, yet they beget the essence of this album – Andreya is on some sort of trek for personal discovery. Ultimately Andreya finds that amid whatever turbulence she may encounter, she can fall back on her music. And that’s a terrific thing because the music here is impressive.
The production, handled by Simon Green (perhaps better known as Bonobo) with a dabbling from Fink, is remarkable. The songs are well-crafted, yet not too tight. There is room for the songs to occasionally teeter on the edge of becoming jam-like and freeform. Bold percussive elements form the base from which all else grows, allowing Andreya to twist her vocals in all sorts of marvelous ways around out the tracks. Furthermore, Andreya and Bonobo work free of any constraints. At times the music falls on the side of sugary-pop, however the majority of the album is dominated by a smooth blend of neo-soul, jazz and trip-hop.
What unfolds over the mere 41-minute album (including the Flying Lotus title track remix) is not only impressive musically, but also intellectually. Although many neo-soul albums can dwell on the topics of romance, sex and any other iteration of love, Lost Where I Belong finds Andreya daring to push the lyrical boundaries. She’s not quite on a mission to ignite social change a la 70s soul and r&b, but Andreya finds original content through personal narratives. Her lyrics are highly personal, gentle and fragile. The music aims to pull back the curtains of Andreya’s life – every so slightly – to uncover some understanding of where she is meant to be. So if Lost Where I Belong is how Andreya truly feels, one can only wonder what sort of beautiful music will be produced once she finds herself.