Blitzen Trapper – American Goldwing

January 01, 1970

(Sub
Pop)

 

www.subpop.com

 

Three-quarters
of the way through Blitzen Trapper’s fifth album, a song shows up called
“Taking It Easy Too Long.” Chances are the band wasn’t intending to reference
the prevailing attitude from the Jackson Browne-penned/Eagles classic “Take It
Easy,” but the tune comes close. It features disillusionment with the hometown,
girls that come and go (mostly the latter) and … well, dang what more do you
need to keep a poor guy down?

 

If the Portland band’s doesn’t
quite fit in with the sound of the early, almost respectable days of the
Eagles, they fall somewhere within that ’70s landscape that straddles dusty
country, electric folk and boogie rock. From the looks of it, they don’t factor
irony into it either. If guitarist/vocalist Eric Earley has some Dylanesque
nasal quality to his singing, it’s probably coming to him naturally. In most of
the songs, he crams a lot of lyrics into each verse, which might have been a
little more convincing if he came up with something a little more compelling
than “I’m going back to my home town/gonna sit right down and take a look
around,” or comparisons to a bird “that just won’t fly,” although to his credit,
the latter line is followed by a clever internal rhyme.

 

When
the band kicks on the distortion, things pick up immensely. “Your Crying
Hearts” makes reference to a Mott the Hoople-style boogie. The harmonica sounds
a little out of place, but that only adds to the mood. It blows through “Street
Fighting Sun,” which also fades out with the twang of a Jew’s harp, a perfect
ending to four minutes of sweet harmonized lead guitars. Then Earley concludes
the album with “Stranger in a Strange
Land,” not one of the
many other songs with that title, but his own. Much like what preceded it, it’s
not a bad song, but its moments of strength come in fits and starts.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Your Crying Hearts,”
“Street Fighting Sun.” MIKE
SHANLEY

 

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