Blitzen Trapper – Destroyer of the Void

January 01, 1970

(Sub Pop) 


Much ado! Album name that could be describing a Hindu god; heavy-handed
video “teaser” that conjures more Blair
Witch Project
than NIN or Jason; and a growing army of fans that couldn’t
care less what a reviewer thinks. That’s probably a good thing.


If those listeners don’t hear vocals as watered-down as
those of Modest Mouse or Supertramp (with Kansas’ heavy-handed arrangements), so much
the better. If they aren’t underwhelmed by songwriting that never surprises,
may they whistle happily along. (I also diverge from the crowd on These United
States, a band with which BT shares a few traits: charisma, brilliant
marketing, and the ability to pump out songs with names and/or lyrics likely to
intrigue an already-converted choir.)


But even with magnifying glass in hand, it’s still tough to
generate smiley-face commentary. The 12-string chording on many tracks,
including “Below The Hurricane,” is spun-crystal pretty. “Love and Hate” and
“Lover Leave Me Drowning” sport tasty electric guitars somewhat reminiscent of
Spirit and other early ‘70s rock. “Evening Star” sculpts a Band feel (as well
as most of the subsequent musical legions seeking a similar vibe). So let’s
forego skeptical commentary concerning the vintage narrative that drives “The
Man Who Would Speak True” (“drunken night with a stolen gun/shot my lover and I
made to run,” my ass) and focus on a deceptively low-key beauty, “The Tailor.”


Damn; nothing’s simple, is it? Now I’m wondering if anything
on the next release will suck me in as completely as the latter, along with
“Dragon’s Song,” which nearly convinces me I’m driving through unsullied
Catskill greenery circa 1974. Having just shared a doobie, I’m pretty open to
the driver’s mixtape – even when The Dead throws down too much dozy weight
after The Youngbloods.


Standout Tracks: “Tailor,” “Evening Star,” “Dragon’s Song” MARY LEARY





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