The amount of music available on regular media and via the web these
days is a double edged thingy. On the one hand, you can check out
everybody you've ever wanted to hear for a minimal outlay; on the
other, if you're even halfway to being a music geek there won't be
enough time in your life to actually hear everything. I'm seriously
thinking about sleeping with headphones and hoping that something
good will wake me up, or at least give me some exciting dreams that
I'll remember in the morning ....
AYWKUBTTOD (whoah, this band's acronym is longer than most
entire band names) fall into the category of people I'd been meaning
to try out for ages, but never quite got around to. So it comes to
pass that I get my first listen when they're already on their fifth
album - and to boot, they very nearly split up before making it.
The Sonic Youth comparisons were what intrigued me before
I'd heard anything, but ...Trail of Dead have evidently developed
a compelling sound of their own. There's definitely some of SY's ear
for melody and multiple guitars, but ... Dead (getting tired of typing
long names) have tightened up the tunes and replaced the meandering,
detuned guitars with some elegaic, orchestral sequences that hark
back a lot further to the likes of Led Zeppelin, or more recently
maybe to some of Spiritualized's more melodic moments.
You know you're in for a true album when the opening track segues
from gradually increasing crowd noise and an insistent guitar riff
to the pounding rocker "Stand In Silence". With interest
well and truly piqued, the rest of the record doesn't disappoint.
Some standouts are "Naked Sun" - a glam-blues stomper reminiscent
of "Spirit In The Sky", with skronky sax merging into a
moody prog-rock coda with synthesized brass; "Eight Day Hell"
- a bouncy, 60s-esque track that recalls The Kinks or Beach
Boys; and the epic closer "Sunken Dreams", an orchestral
tour de force with what sounds like a full choir and screaming vocals
over the top.
Overall this is a fine record that will make you glad the guys decided
not to call it a day; I for one will definitely be investigating their
earlier stuff. Pounding rockers and the occasional moody ballad all
make use of finely detailed production, with lots of interesting instrumental
effects - piano, strings, and brass, whether synthesized or not, provide
more than enough embellishment to keep your interest. There's even
a string - and backing vocal-laden Guided By Voices cover ("Gold
Heart Mountain Top Queen Directory") - quite a contrast from
the four track original.
1. Intro: A Song of Fire and Wine
2. Stand in Silence
3. Wasted State of Mind
4. Naked Sun
5. Gold Heart Mountain Top Queen Directory
6. So Divided
8. Eight Days of Hell
9. Witch's Web
10. Segue: Sunken Dreams
11. Sunken Dreams
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