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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Tricky Bizzniss

Tricky Bizzniss

Review by Rick Damigella

Fans of well crafted electro-rock, take note, this is an album you should be listening to. Trixie Reiss is a name you will be hearing more and more now that this debut disc has been released. The former art student turned singer got her start ten years ago when a friend passed her acapella art installation recordings to Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland of The Crystal Method. The trip-hop duo recorded a pair of numbers on their debut disc Vegas with Trixie on lead vocals including their hit “Comin’ Back.” Reiss has since performed with the Real McCoy, Skylark and Karsh Kale and on this disc teams up with two-time Grammy nom Ernie Lake as her creative partner in Bizniss. The overall sound is electro-rock, with dashes of old school new wave and dance thrown in for variety. What is great about the album is the feel good vibe of the music and lyrics which shine out like a star in a pop-music galaxy overpopulated with gross negativity.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 2 at

Track by Track Review
Set the retro machine for 1984! If you have a thing for moody 80’s dance pop that wasn’t actually recorded twenty plus years ago, look no further. The deliberately retro sound of this number is what makes it so fun. Apart from the robotized voice effects, the instrumentation actually sounds like it could have been recorded during the era of Reagan, big hair and music videos at their most popular without sounding dated.
Jet Set Ride
When I heard this disc was coming out I wanted to give it a spin simply because of Trixie’s connection to the Crystal Method. While this song is a bit more pop sounding than something the Method would do, there are plenty of trip-hop sound effects within it to give TCM fans a thrill. The ethereal icy synths swirl around and entwine themselves with Trixie’s vocals in a playfully seductive manner.
Love Ain't Money
There is more than a touch of Gwen Steffani styling bouncing beneath this number, but that is what makes it enjoyable. This is by far not a clone of any kind, but the fans of the Orange County Girl should also enjoy the NYC Girl as she sings her own electro-rock dance floor grind. There's great dancehall freestyling in the bridge as well.
Pyramid In the Haze
Ohhh yeahh… slow, slinky and seductive, this is very nice indeed. How can I best describe this without sounding too blunt? Imagine the kind of song that might have featured prominently in a slow-motion love scene on “Miami Vice” with lots of blurred shots and longer than needed camera pans and you get the idea of the horizontal groove laying under this number.
So Long
The minimalist nature of the synths on Tricky Bizzniss are delightful to the ear that appreciates the instrument. The intro riff to this number is no exception. A nice addition here are the crunchy guitar power chords in the chorus. Trixie’s voice is at its strongest yet on the album.
C'mon, C'mon
Slide the go-go boots on for this one. The slinky retro-electro of the album’s single is bouncy, fun, and instantly danceable making it hard to resist this siren’s call to “make it fun again.”
B-Side of the Moon
Modulated overlays manipulate Trixie’s voice on this throbbing synth bass driven number. The sticky sweet chorus gives you visions of vertical grinding on a tightly packed dance floor.
Never Again
There are plenty of songs about New York, but this one actually feels like the Big Apple: after dark, lights shining off the wet pavement, the air heavy outside the club you are waiting to get into. It's seductive yet innocent all at the same time.
Day to Day
OK, now that you are in the club it's time to dance. This mid tempo number is already getting spins from DJ’s and rightly so. More of the seductive synth sound with Trixie’s sweet vocals,I know it is standard fare, but it amazes me how much the “Cher vocal” sound effect is still utilized today. The good news is, it fits the number, even if Trixie doesn’t even need to have such electronic trickery applied to her pipes. When the effect isn’t there, there are traces of Sunscreem in Trixie’s delivery, especially towards the end.
Whirlwind Life
A more ambient dance floor number, Trixie’s vocals seem to blend into the music, especially in the chorus, rather than stand out in front on this. These style effects are mandatory in dance, but when you have a performer with a voice like Trixie’s, it is sometimes better to let the girl sing. Not the strongest number on the album, this is solid just the same.
Tricky Bizzniss’ website compares this number to Depeche Mode’s style and the sinister sounding synth which propels it is very Depeche like. Rather than taking her vocals into that bands trademark dour area, Trixie pops into a new register with a Lolita-pitched delivery that is sweet compliment to the love song’s lyrics.
It's the last song, time to get a bit outside the box. The minimalist synth sound is still here, but the overall arrangement is much less pop and more experimental, with swaying rhythms and a dreamy swirling chorus.
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