Reina Mora’s musical journey has taken some side detours before arriving at her current sound, but it’s a glorious presentation she’s hit upon at last. “Trouble”, the first single from her full length studio effort Bird’s Eye View, is a mix of atmospheric simmer and edgy rock with a personal stamp that’s well recorded and places her voice in a center of primacy without making the musical arrangement seem like an afterthought. Her Puerto Rican background probably wields some level of influence over her musical results, but she’s resolutely herself above all else and this is a piece of pure pop songcraft that defies easy labels and even has some of the best trappings of the singer/songwriter style surrounding the recording. “Trouble” is a real important first effort, not just some hollow confection for a debut single, and will likely stand as one of her most representative tracks when the book is closed on her active musical career many years from now.
It’s a song that moves through the sultry and strong alike with an early painterly like approach to weaving its sounds together soon giving way to a full flight rock attack with great, crunching guitars and an assertive rhythm section performance underpinning everything. The song goes a little over four minutes and, nonetheless, feels like an even briefer, more compact experience that doesn’t waste a note or word in its effort to get under your skin. The production emphasizes the song’s physical aspects without ever becoming an overwhelming listening experience and keeps Mora at the heart of everything going on. It’s obvious why this song was chosen as the album’s first single. It’s a star making performance.
She’s crafted some good lyrics to give her vocals something additional to work with and shows the instincts for her craft of a much older, more experienced vocalist. “Trouble” doesn’t cover new ground in rock or pop music, but Mora’s writing and charismatic vocal stake out territory in the area that’s hers alone and sings with the surrounding instruments rather than playing her voice off against them and attempting to generate tension that way. It makes for an intensely satisfying experience and there’s no question she’s got the chops and musical partnerships necessary to pull this tune off for live audiences. What a treat that will be.
Reina Mora’s “Trouble” does everything a good first single should. It sets a tone for the upcoming release that’s authentic, yet smart. It puts out the vibe that this is a recording from an artist who’s intent on occupying her own niche in the popular music pantheon. It also accomplishes one thing more. It entertains the hell out of anyone who likes an evocative or hard rocking song that comes straight from the body and mind. 2018 is off to a great start with quality releases like this and we can only assume Bird’s Eye View is an equal barnburner.