Sweet Trip’s Fantastic Return , By Henri Robbins
“Here’s a tip: If you listen to A Tiny House with someone you love, hold them tight, feel their heart against yours, and don’t let go,” Sweet Trip wrote on a since-deleted Instagram post, accompanied by a photo of Roberto Burgos and Valerie Cooper, the duo behind Sweet Trip’s music, smiling at the camera. The picture looks spontaneous but also intentional, and is accompanied by a second photo of the duo’s matching fingernails, painted in intersecting, angular lines of silver and black.
This is Sweet Trip: an energetic, layered mix of comforting computer-noise and quirky indie charm as endearing as it is infectious. After hearing their music for the first time — my first experience was 2003’s “Velocity: Design: Comfort.” — their sound starts to stick in your head. It sticks not in the form of any chorus or beat, but through the fantastic layering of pieces that satisfyingly scratches the itch in your brain.
The opening track, “Tiny Houses”, rushes like wind through your hair . It’s fast, coursing, yet relaxed. It’s a sunny day, drifting clouds overhead, perfect for a summer drive with the windows down — the home we all look for, but can never seem to stay at for more than a few hours.
The following track, “Surviving a Smile” is loose and free. It’s positive and genuine: music made with love, something horrendously hard to find these days. But after twelve years of silence — the time between 2009’s “Velocity: Design: Comfort.” and 2021’s “A Tiny House,” during which the band disappeared almost completely — you don’t come back just to make an album without passion. Listening, it can clearly be felt that “A Tiny House” was made not out of obligation, but out of inspiration.
In tracks like “In Sound, We Found Each Other” and “Chapters”, acoustic profiles blend with electronic blips and trills to create an all-encompassing comfort. Each sound feels precise and planned-out, like a digital twist on the ambient noise of an afternoon in the forest. It’s falling asleep to the sounds of the world around you, letting them dance around in your dreams.
The calmer moments of the album come to fruition in “Eave Foolery Mill Five” and “Snow Purple Treasures” with slower tempos and more traditional instrumentals. Smooth vocals hover over softly-strummed guitars, passively backed by ambient synthesized sounds. Cool air blows through an open window as you slowly drift to sleep, a long day behind you and cicadas buzzing in your ears. You have photos on the wall and memories float through your head.
Making music others can understand is difficult. It’s hard to say “this is how I feel” through music and have someone else understand, but Sweet Trip’s most recent album communicates their emotions fully. Music made with intent is beautiful. It comes from well-maintained and well-understood emotion. It is love, and that’s hard to communicate in a universal way, but this album comes close.
I can’t say you’ll feel the same way when you listen to it, but that’s not what life is about. We all have our own, disparate experiences to be described in our own words. While listening to this, I feel a deep nostalgia-like hope for a future I can’t wait to experience. It feels the way life should: imperfect, yet perfectly appreciated.
“A Tiny House, In Secret Speeches, Polar Equals” is simple in the same way a beautiful day is simple: not from a lack of depth, but instead for an appreciation of the everyday. It’s simple because life isn’t always complex - sometimes it’s just enough to be happy, unapologetically. Something all too easy to forget right now.
So listen to this album, hold someone tight if you can, and experience the calm moments of life for as long as possible.