James and Lauren of Trickster Figures began writing songs together as soon as they met in 2013. In an attic in Cincinnati, they composed their first song using a guitar, a looping pedal, a suitcase drum, and a ukulele. Their multi-instrumental DIY approach creates a lush and percussive blend of dream and indie folk rock. They create layers of harmony often summoning feelings of longing in minor and modal keys. Their songs combine grit and natural beauty and reflect on the struggle between consumerism and authenticity.
If you catch a live performance, you may be treated to any combination of harp, banjo, guitar, ukulele, drums, harmonica, xylophone, q chord, melodica, bass, fiddle, or keyboard. James’s beatboxing fills out the songs and is often mistaken for a drum machine. Since forming, Trickster Figures traveled the country, living in Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon, and Missouri. They landed in St. Louis and released their debut album “Through the Seams” late last year.
“Salt of the Ocean” is just one of the songs off of their new album. It’s an upbeat indie-folk tune for wanderers and kindred spirits. It’s for those who are grasping onto memories of exploration and youth as age weighs them down with heavier things. It’s a driven by a rousing string-dominant and strong percussive-spaced instrumental . Lauren’s whispery vocals juxtapose James’s gritty vocals to create an on-and-off duet to develop the song’s environment. The pace quickens and slows to match the changing softness and durability of the instrumental, driven by the verses which give way to instrumental solos layered with natural sounds. The flow of the song recalls the longing of nostalgia and of times that are just memories. Memories of wandering, a world with more release, and salt of the ocean in the air.
You can watch the music video, shot by Fortem Films on a historic trolley ride near the Pacific Northwest, below.