CD Reviews
Monday, 28 October 2013
David Cowling

Blitzen Trapper "VII"

Lojinx, 2013

6
  • Loose Furr

BT are a hard band to pin down; once you think they've settled on a sound they tear up the template and start again. They've done indie-punk, Laurel Canyon and even flirted with Heavy Rock. This time they've upped the boogie and funk quotients, even slipping in a little hip-hop. They are still, at heart, Americana, the Cosmic kind, the one where you can do anything, the one that this website uses as a touchstone. They nailed it completely with 'Furr' which eschewed their usual butterfly tendencies and so of course they've now decided to be ornery bastards, ripping it up and starting again.

There are the straightforward easily recognizable Americana staples like 'Don't Be A Stranger' which is one for you Band devotees, all harmonies and straightly strummed banjos. 'Ever Loved Once' is similar if a little tougher, this time steel guitar providing the curtain around the super-wide vision window of the song. With 'Thirsty Man' that tendency to experiment kicks right in, starting off as their Mountain Whoopee Boogie, then a sly funky undercurrent and the organ break sounds like they've smuggled it in from a Prog Rock offcut shop before a fuzzy guitar nudges things back onto a more familiar course. From then on things begin to really mutate; 'Oregon Geography' mixes hip hop beats, the sound of rain and a sinister banjo into some kind of hillbilly hip hop (Blitzen Rapper).

'Neck Tatts, Cadillacs' is again beats and banjos, this time the breakdown in more James Brown (if you ignore the Farmers With Attitude barn dance that's going on in the background). 'Earth, Fever Called Love' is simpler, slide guitar and beats for the most part, it sounds made for a Jack Daniels advert, the squelched brass parps and flute toots may make it a little left-field for commercial use. By their very nature records like this are seldom wholly successful and this is no exception - it is both puzzling and pleasurable.

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