Reviews ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead Worlds Apart

...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead

Worlds Apart

Vocalist Conrad Keely poses a question on the album's title track; "What's the future of Rock-n-Roll?" A rhetorical question? Perhaps, but he chooses to answers anyway, even if it is sarcastically: "Does it matter?" To answer his question, yes, it does. For if the future is filled with annoying indie/pop acts like Franz Ferdinand and the revival of washed up musicians like The Cure, I'll just sell my stereo now. But if, on the other hand, I can continue to find artists making music that is not redundant, then by all means, I will keep that stereo right where it rests.

Some might say that ...Trail of Dead suffered from the increased attention that they were begotten via Source Tags & Codes. The band's breakout album was over-glorified and vastly rated too highly by a number of well-renowned critics. By opting to release an EP rather that jump right into another full-length, the band was attempting to offset the expectations that they couldn't possibly live up to. While some of this is only speculation, it is a likely scenario. Nevertheless, ...Trail of Dead persisted through the pressures of these expectations and presented us with their newest offering Worlds Apart.

The fourth installment from these Austin rockers begins with an operatic introduction track before things really get underway with "Will You Smile Again." Clocking in at nearly seven minutes, the song moves through a variety of sequences; everything from elegant post-punk elements accented by jazz-influenced horns to distortion heavy rock very evocative of My Bloody Valentine are present. On to the title track, Keely's lyrics act as a commentary on the current state of American culture, in particular the music industry. Keely ever so modestly (yeah right) declares "everything is fucked." I can both agree and disagree with this statement. While what the major press sources declare as brilliant is usually off-base, the underground magazines, websites, and the like have more than caught on to the true heart of the music industry, of which ...Trail of Dead is a key component.

The orchestration of instruments on Worlds Apart is in line with that of its predecessor's. Yet again the band has enlisted the help of a number of talented musicians playing all sorts of string and wind instruments as well as horns and a variety of different percussion. "Summer of '91" relies heavily on the use of pianos as Keely waxes poetically. These additional talents are utilized throughout the course of the album; in particular, the use of the choir is implemented extremely well on "Caterwaul" and "All White."

While the majority of the music ...Trail of Dead writes can be generalized as a mix of indie and post-punk, they always find ways to experiment with their sound. "The Best" is comparable to Domestica-era Cursive, making use of simplistic strums of the guitar, all the while putting the emphasis back on the words. "Let it Dive," shows more resemblance to the radio-rock sound the band visited on the hit "Relative Ways," which is more accessible than much of the band's previous material. Keely's Liam Gallagher-esque harmonies allow the song to flow with ease. And while you won't hear it playing on any of the corporately owned radio stations, you can bet it gets constant airplay on those at the college level.

With 2005 underway, I am already keeping track of what albums will either meet, exceed, or fail to meet my expectations. To me, Worlds Apart is easily ...Trail of Dead's best work to date. However, I am certain others will be turned off by its more accessible radio appeal, declare it a failure, and promptly sell it to a CD re-sale shop, which I highly suggest you stake out.

8.0 / 10Michael
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