“Oh eye oh/ Joe, don’t go/ Oh eye oh/ Joe, I know,” Lissy Trullie wails on the chorus to “Wearing Blue,” the second song on her self-titled album, over-enunciating every syllable, exaggerating every “O.” The New Yorker and former model otherwise known as Elizabeth McChesney sounds positively regal against a backdrop of click-clack drums, swelling brass, and teetering piano chords, asserting herself as if “Blue” were her birthright.
The context suggests that Joe’s cracking up, but the thing about Lissy Trullie (Downtown) as a whole is that one never gets the sense that Trullie is emotionally invested what she’s communicating with her dry, sharp instrument. This might be more of an artistic concern were she not so kinetically invested in her task, tapping and cracking and battering and scraping her words like a manic kidult who is literally bursting with happiness over a shiny new toy she’s just received.
Listening to Lissy Trullie forces a mental picture of bodies in motion, being as it is a collection of songs that tries to make the listener as frenzied and aerobicized and toned and sweaty as Trullie apparently strives to be every waking moment. It should come with leg warmers, a gym membership, and a temporary Nike tattoo. As such, Sound of the City decided to rebuild the tracklist to suit the prerogatives of cardiovascularly minded listeners. What say we get svelte?
TRACK: “Rules We Obey”
EXERCISE: Cross Crawls
“Obey” fairly begs for the enthusiastic and juvenile over-extension of limbs—say, sarcastic drum-major marching in public to the degree where you wind up kneeing a passing Wall Street stockbroker squarely in the junk.
TRACK: “X Red”
EXERCISE: Stretches, Jumping Jacks
Snarling guitars and handclaps make for especially fine bedfellows on churning “X Red,” which builds up an infectiously drone-y head of steam then cuts and runs before you’ve had your fill of its ripcord verve or have really been able to draw a bead on what makes the song crucial for stomach crunches and coupe sing-alongs.
EXERCISE: Jump Rope
The strumming on “Caring” has a quickened-pulse nervousness that lends it an unbalanced country-on-the-click vibe—but because of the prominent, bullying horns it’s almost a sleazy, Dolly Parton strain of country instead of the alternative universe Green Day-circa-2000 album-filler cut it wants to be. And while Lissy Trullie will never be the queen bee of sassy jump-rope anthems—Rye Rye holds that title, right now—”Caring” finds her daring (and caring) to dream in Technicolor.
No Pain, No Gain
TRACK: “You Bleed You”
EXERCISE: Stationary Cycle
“Bleed” is somewhat reminiscent of those ball-dispensing machines tennis pros uses, except that “Bleed” unleashes chiming, serrated bursts of guitar—which are usually fatal.
TRACK: “Wearing Blue”
You know how sometimes you half-ass the treadmill, devoting the absolute least amount of effort to keep up at the speed level you’ve chosen for yourself without flying backwards and knocking yourself out—but at different intervals your laziness irks you, so you pick up the pace for 30 seconds or so in order to feel as though you’re accomplishing something? “Blue” packs that same kind of semi-subjective rhythm logic—blame the drummer?—as if it goes back and forth between being bored and enthralled with itself. It’s fun to pretend that the horns are laughing at how wishy-washy the other instrumentation’s acting, or at maybe at Trullie’s hilarious Joey Ramone impression.
TRACK: “I Know Where You Sleep”
EXERCISE: Tae Bo
Come for the “I’ll Be Watching You” homage, stay for the intensely Sour Patch eddies of shoegaze-ery.
TRACK: “Heart Sound”
EXERCISE: Sparring with a punching bag
The sinewy verses are for bouncing crazily from Ked to Ked and wiping hair out of your eyes; the totally cut choruses are for wigging out, hauling off, and giving that bag the motherfucking business like you were Jennifer Lopez in Enough or something.
EXERCISE: Rowing Machine (Excruciating Setting)
Time to work those biceps and shoulders! Trullie seems to be swimming a particularly sludge-choked segment of the Mississippi River here. “Madeleine” is a lovely song in its spare, husky way, a streak of amplifier blare slicing through the goth ambience without usurping it; it’s also the sort of thing you’d expect the cover model from the Smashing Pumpkins’ Adore to murmur to herself every morning while putting her face on.
TRACK: “Glass Mountain”
EXERCISE: Nordic Track/StairMaster
If you’re going to pretend to scale a small mountain, you need the sort of epic, widescreen bombast that wouldn’t seem out of place at a sponsored sporting event where alcohol is served. Which isn’t to say that “Glass Mountain” is “Song 2” or anything, but it’s got serious polyphonic shifting-drone, guitars nightstick-smacking-a-palm drum swagger, and Trullie murmuring “we can do anything we want” with enough muted, steely conviction that you almost buy it.
TRACK: “It’s Only You, Isn’t It?”
EXERCISE: Cool Down (initial)
This taut, high-energy bolt of lightning with downtempo interruptions is fitting for the initial transition from hardcore exercise to a more standard state of being; “You” serves as a reminder that the two states can and should co-exist.
TRACK: Spit You Out
EXERCISE: Cool Down (extended)
This is where you and your water bottle get to make out, where you get to catch your breath and sort of survey surroundings while wandering around the gym, easing gradually and sweatily back into the rhythms of normal locomotion, hands on hips, looking wild and unhinged, like you just killed and buried somebody. Trullie, meanwhile, is systematically and dispassionately draining the concept of sex of any appeal it may once have held—which is analogous, in a way.