Music You Don't Know You Like Yet
2008-12-02Hard to categorize, the Portland, Oregon sextet, Blitzen Trapper has been described as experimental folk and patterned in the mold of Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens. While the folk element is definitely here on their fourth album, so too is the southern, country, and psychedelic rock along with a host of other literary influences that plays out in the lyrics both written and sung by guitarist/lead vocalist/and avid reader Eric Earley. According to the band, such an eclectic mix of music comes from a combination of Eric's vast capability as a songwriter and the bands overall boredom with doing the same thing over and over again. The result, as you can by now guess, is a recording that you'll just have to listen to for yourself in order to get what I'm saying. Two particularly outstanding and yet all-together different songs are "Gold For Bread," and "Black River Killer." On the former track, all sorts of musical elements come together making for an extremely good sound. On the latter, Kid Rock comes to mind as Earley takes on the persona of a killer and his remorse and sings "Oh when, oh when/Will the spirit come a calling for my soul's sin/Oh when, oh when/Will the keys to the kingdom be mine again?" Another great track is "God and Suicide," a song that even manages to incorporate a little electronica into an already complex menagerie of sound. Honestly, the first half of this recording is outstanding while the latter half is quite a bit less memorable. If only Blitzen Trapper would have been able to continue what they started, we might be talking about the record of the year. What we have instead is a recording that's partially great but also in part mundane. ~Reviewed by Jeff Bouma
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