US - Texas - Full Moon 102 - 01/25/05
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
"Western Music has had as its motivating force the idea of progress and development which appears to have run concurrently to great cumulative
leaps in technological development." "When I was writing the album and I was stuck for inspiration, I would turn on 101X [Austin's alternative rock
radio station] and listen to how bad the music was. It was really inspiring to listen to Staind or Puddle of Mudd and AFI. They gave me an idea
of how I didn't want this album to sound."
"You need stuff like that to fuel the fire, to know that there's mediocrity out there and that it's your choice to rise above that." "You have
the chance to make something substantial and do something really great, and that's what we're trying to do. We're setting ourselves apart with this
album because it doesn't sound like any of our peers."
"I don't think we make music that we want people to dislike, and I certainly don't want to make music for one small minority of people. I have
constant anxiety that the record won't sell. We hope we appeal to not just people of this generation, but people of future generations. We're trying
to do something that's timeless and timely. Something that's culturally significant. To have it overlooked would be, for me, a nightmare."
"What excites me about music today? That there's a lot of room for improvement. Rock is so whiny and so full of complaints. And I blame Nirvana
for that. All this whining about 'my life' and 'how miserable I am.' And it's so conceited and selfish. Especially since it's a bunch of white,
privileged guys who are singing this sh--. What do they have to complain about?"
"I just don't see why rock has to be stupid. Rock is our cultural idiom - it's the framework in which we work," he continued. "And it can be
anything we want it to be. It doesn't have to be some backward-looking, Neanderthal, monosyllabic stuff." [from MTV.com]
Ok, so they care about music. They care about their music especially. They think their band is important and original (and it is, well, was
anyway). They think rock music is "our" cultural idiom, and they think it would be devastating if their newest record were overlooked. They're signed
to Interscope. They badmouth Nirvana for being pessimistic and selfish. They write a textbook-style treatise on Western Music to accompany this record.
They use a full chorus (funny how they can afford that) to shout the names of Greek Gods in the opener of this album. Trail of Dead have become absolutely
pretentious. People always said that about them before this album, but this one pretty much seals the tomb for me.
I say "sorry" to this Badass Interscope Band. Their record ain't gonna get overlooked, but it sure as hell is going to be scrutinized. I guess they
don't realize it, but their last record was great, and it finally opened the door they'd always wanted, but the way they're acting now is just turning
me off. To Mr. Interscope I say: Can't handle success? Do you realize you've even had success? It sort of doesn't seem like it.
Up until this point ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead have been one of my favorite bands, both on record and live, but now I'm simply
turned off. We all know Staind has nothing to complain about, but, ...Trail of Dead, what exactly do you have to complain about? The State of Music?
Give me a break.
Of course, the most important thing is how this record sounds. I could be completely turned off by things bands say or how they publicly act, but
if the record sounds good I couldn't care less:
The album opens with an unimpressive piano riff and some expensive sounding full chorus. Hey, it's in 5/4! Fuck this opener. It makes it sound
like this album is going to be about Elves and Wizards. "Will You Smile Again" opens sporting a sort of boring version of the same guitar sound that
band treaded (well) on their last release. And as far as them saying they don't sound like other bands, PLEASE. I say "This stuff sounds like indie
rock, boys". Too bad they gave up their independent label a couple of years ago. And why are they singing like that? I can barely even recognize them
anymore. And I loved them! Fuck this. About half-way through this song a new section begins that causes it to make even less sense. Finally, something
good begins to happen when there's about 40 seconds left.
The title track's guitars start out sounding pretty good. But this song has NO vocal melody. It's shit. Why does the singing have to suck so much on
this album? What happened? In addition, every once in a while in this song, they throw in the most annoying chord EVER. I think maybe they were trying
to spice it up or something with that chord, but it just pisses me off. The chorus is bullshit as well. And by the end of the song that guitar part I
liked just sounds boring. Nice field samples at the end though, sincerely.
"Summer 91" presents the first time on this album that Trail of Dead have even tried to make a melody. But even given a real nice harmonic background,
they AGAIN fail to deliver. Dammit. Why are they doing this to themselves, I know they don't want this overlooked.
I'll sum this one up right now: Take Source Tags and Codes and cross every line that would have made it suck really terribly. This is the Trail
of Dead that the haters always wanted, and honestly I can see their position now. Better luck next time, ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead!
Copyright © 2005 Bill Banks