Thursday, October 9, 2008
Blitzen Trapper’s 2007 CD, Wild Mountain Nation, approached ’60s rock, folk and country with a fractured sound reminiscent of Pavement’s scattershot 1999 opus Wowee Zowee.
On their latest, Furr which is also their debut on Sub Pop Records, Blitzen Trapper still veer off in unexpected directions many times in just three minutes. The great opener “Sleepytime in the Western World” goes from a dense Band-like rock sound to stripped-down Dylan-esque acoustic guitar strumming to a muscular classic rock riff in a matter of seconds, while “Echo/ Always On/ EZ Con” starts as a piano ballad before abruptly halting and restarting as a funky instrumental.
Though the complex, previously mentioned numbers are wholly successful, the high points on Furr are some of the album’s most straightforward numbers. The title track is an allegory that seems to compare organized religion to a pack of wolves, but not in simply negative terms. With its harmonica and vocalist Eric Easley’s surreal lyrics, its impossible to avoid comparisons to Dylan’s early folk rock.
Equally effective is “Black River Killer,” an eerie number about a sociopath that could be an old blues or country song except for a few elements including a spaced-out keyboard that comes in on the chorus. It begins with chilling details as Easley sings: “It was just a while past the Sunset Strip/ They found the girl’s body in an open pit/ Her mouth was sewn shut/ But her eyes were still wide/ Gazing through the fog to the other side.”
With gripping lyrics and a catchy chorus, it’s a standout track on one of the standout albums of 2008.