Trailhead "Bodies in the Basement"
The first thing that struck me as odd while listening to ‘Bodies in the Basement’ is that for the life of me I couldn’t place it. There is no sense of being from anywhere or aiming at anything. It just is. The second is how methodically well-drilled it sounds, how clinically precise. Who or what was Trailhead? Then I took a peek at the album sleeve and it all made sense.
Trailhead aka Tobias Panwitz is a singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist from Berlin, and he has his countrymen’s eye for slick superiority. Brightly and yet intimately he applies his voice to the task; bending it with dexterity around every perfectly observed chord, fed into and in turn received with ultimate clarity by a team of engineers who put Mercedes to shame. German Americana – you gotta love it.
And that’s the thing, its damn good music. Maybe better than it should be. Maybe it’s sacrificed a little soul but then it’s hard on a guy to say he’s too good. Instead I’ll merely ask you to remember what happened to Robert Johnson at the Crossroads. But enough bitter griping and back to the record. Intro 'Ladybird leads us into ‘Down the Drain’ and the sentiments expressed are real enough (“And I’m wondering, Am I old now, or just calming down, Cause even one thing that I care for is hard to be found”).
My favourite tunes are ‘Emmanuelle Beart’ and ‘Ride’ both of which are overflowing with charm as well as the standard structural excellence. The rest of the album is every moment a pleasure. It’s not Trailhead’s fault that it’s sometimes easier to admire how he does it than what he does. It doesn’t start fires in your gut but the German blood and Teutonic temperament that saw ‘Bodies in the Basement’ take three years to make ensures that it is, well, a pleasure.