November 23, 2006

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And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, So Divided
Interscope Records, 2006

The ELP comparisons that raised eyebrows after 2005’s Worlds Apart can be put aside for good after this display of altie bric-a-brac from Trail of Dead, as they’ve decided to enable the vague Abbey Road allusions Yo La Tengo made in Beat Your Ass by giving the White Album a sideways you-da-man here in So Divided. The drums/singing/guitar-switchoff interplay between longtime buds Jason Reece and Conrad Keely results in count-’em one volley of proggish weirdness, namely a too-busy bongo line whose sole purpose is to mask the blatant pop-radio leanings of “Wasted State of Mind,” which summons up a vision of hipster-friendly supermarket speakers that’s about as rebellious as Air Supply when you get down to it. Jump-off track and lone asskicker “Stand In Silence” appears at first to be an inverted “Jane Says” until you realize the riffs were brazenly stolen from Zep’s Houses of the Holy LP, but either way it’s a mucus-loosener to crank on your drive to the blind date. Elsewhere there’s partisan indie copycatting, Pinehurst Kids influences getting the ball for the title track, Raveonettes on “Naked Sun.” C+

— Eric W. Saeger