Fire Note Says: Art rock at its distorted best.
Album Review: Call me nostalgic, but I still think some of Trail of Dead’s best work came off of Source Tags & Codes, their third full-length studio album. They’ve always produced good music, but every album did seem to have its share of filler material. Then, more articulate than a speeding bullet and more accessible than a locomotive, comes Lost Songs. The album features, I am pleased to say, no filler, but instead twelve of the best songs the band has recorded to date. Encompassing virtually every style with which they have experimented in their fourteen-year career, Lost Songs delivers everything I had hoped for.
The first three tracks alone are nothing to be trifled with: “Open Doors” raves up into a distorted symphony of shoegazer-esque guitar and throbbing percussion. “Pinhole Cameras” follows just seconds on its heel, a dance-rock styled piece that will immediately start you bobbing your head and humming its melody, even when “Up to Infinity,” a song dealing with the Syrian civil war, begins its beautiful opening riff. One of my favorite moments on the album comes during the bridge to “Flower Card Games.” The guitar soars at this point, creating an ambiance that you can’t help but love. The bottom half of the album features the tracks “Bright Young Things,” which is a throwback to the very early days of Trail of Dead, and “Time and Again,” which to me sounds like the band doing an interpretation of a Tom Petty song, with front man Conrad Keely singing in a style very similar to that of Mr. Petty himself.
As a whole, this may be my favorite record the band has released so far. Its articulate and unrelenting song-writing and arrangements are so cohesive that I actually don’t suggest starting with this record as your introduction to Trail of Dead. Seriously, it’s almost too good. Instead, enjoy some of their back catalog and, when you get a feel for the group, spin this one. This album shines.
Key Tracks: “Up to Infinity,” “Heart of Wires,” “Lost Songs”
Artists With Similar Fire: Oh Condor / Explosions in the Sky / Silversun Pickups
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-Reviewed by Christian Yates