Tres Chicas

Tres Chicas' second album is the auditory equivalent of a chick flick. It's not so much because of the group's name or the bandmates' feminine bond or that the CD and cover booklet are swathed in pink. Rather it has to do with their wistful, starry-eyed themes and the music's gentle, soft sigh. Indeed this alt-country trio — ex-Whiskeytown contributor Caitlin Cary; Tonya Lamm, formerly of Hazeldine; and Lynn Blakey, an alumnus of Glory Fountain, Let's Active, and Oh Ok — offer hushed harmonies, gentle melodies, and lyrics that read like Emily Dickinson poems when they describe love's conflicting emotions. On the downside, the voices are so enmeshed that oftentimes it's difficult to distinguish any one Chica from the Tres. Part of the blame also falls to songs that are of a similar style, whether they're awash in harmonies ("Drop Me Down," "Sway," "If You Think That It's All Right") or sung solo as torch ballads plied with tenderness and desire ("All the Shade Trees in Bloom," "Still I Run," "400 Flamingos"). "I'm not Jesus Christ/I'm just an ordinary girl," Lamm coos on "My Love." Ordinary? Perhaps. Fortunately the singing is still divine.

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Lee Zimmerman