Drops: Trail of Dead returns to '90s roots
Though the art rockers . . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead have always been forward thinkers, their latest, "Tao of the Dead" (Richter Scale/Superballmusic), is a definite throwback to the early '90s.
Remember those heady days after punk broke and Nirvana was king, and crazy, intense rock overwhelmed pop culture? This is a record made for those times, when Smashing Pumpkins were unwinding "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" and Radiohead was cranking up "The Bends."
If there's any doubt about Trail of Dead's ambitions, they offer "Tao of the Dead Part Two: Strange News From Another Planet," a 16-minute-plus epic of guitar-driven atmospherics and one instrumental charge after another. It's Genesis-styled prog rock filtered through a punk perspective - complete with pretty lulls and angry chanting - for impressive results.
However, it's Trail of Dead's twisting of poppier influences into their broader story that is actually even more impressive. "Ebb Away" goes from Joy Division gloom into Foo Fighters' straightforward rock in less than three minutes. The first single, "Summer of All Dead Souls," bounces between pummeling drumming and Conrad Keely singing above Jason Reece's grand guitar riffs for that rare combination of radio-friendly and utterly unique.
"Tao of The Dead" works well as both a return to Trail of Dead's thrilling beginnings in mid-'90s Austin and a statement of where the once-again-indie rockers want to go in the future.
Trail of Dead plays Tuesday night at Littlefield in Brooklyn; littlefieldnyc.com.
. . . AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD
"Tao of the Dead"
BOTTOM LINEA wild, ambitious throwback to indie rock's heyday