February 19, 2009


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…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, The Century of Self
Justice Records, Feb. 17

It’s the Economy, Stupid Redux: More and more I hear an encouraging trend toward quality on the part of indie bands, igniting the hope that the gelded, overeducated major-label yuppie-scuzzes may follow suit, but, you know, nah. I didn’t like Trail of Dead’s last album, So Divided, because I smelled a rat someplace, like they were a Blue Oyster Cult posing as a bunch of Flaming Lips geeks, but honestly, much as I’d like to relive my trashing of that record, I destroyed my copy by playing “Stand in Silence” too many times, such a gluteus-booting thing it is (aside from that, who did they think they were nicking in “Wasted State of Mind”? Figurine? Go bake yourselves in a pie.).

After reading with fast-rising bile a report that this new one was “More indie! Etc!” I demanded a freebie nonetheless, readying sharp instruments at easy reach around my (literally) black keyboard.

“More indie?” Sure, if “more indie” means a crockpot of Pixies mocking Arcade Fire (“Isis Unveiled”) and Tom Petty fronting BOC (“Bells of Creation”). This is grade-A post-hard rock, only indie in its feedback bloopers. Hey, if Kaiser Chiefs can finagle a spot on the Regal Cinema lobby soundtrack loop, so can these guys – they’re working it like it’s the playoffs, which every band who has the dopey luck to have a record contract in this scary era should be doing. AEric W. Saeger