...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead -
Release Date: November 14th, 2006
…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead is the kind of name that gives an immediate impression of what the music is going to sound like. A band with a name like that is practically required to be in the same vein as Terror or Cradle Of Filth. Sounding anything like The Arcade Fire or The Mars Volta is completely out of the question. But somehow, that’s much closer to what you’ll hear when listening to Trail Of Dead. Weird, right? I mean, the assumption that scary name equals scary music has pretty much been cemented into our brains by now, so when you hear of a band called …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead it’s kind of hard not to imagine songs about…well…trails of dead people. Blood, guts, gore. Maybe a song about a serial killer. You get the picture. Instead, Trail Of Dead has released a handful of albums to date of their increasingly experimental brand of indie rock, So Divided being the latest example of this.
The album is home to a handful of different sounds squished together, such as in “Naked Sun”. The pounding drums and bluesy guitar is a pretty safe place for the song to continue in, but about midway through the horns start pouring in a way that is best compared to the creak of a rusty hinge. On it’s own, it would be just enough to make the listener seriously consider shutting So Divided off, but in the context of the song it not only fits, but is almost pleasant. The song just as quickly evolves into a little triumphant but introspective piano piece carried over from opening track “Intro: A Song Of Fire And Wine”. This tone carries on into the following track, “Gold Heart Mountain Top Queen Directory”. The vocals are dejected and pretty, highlighted by faint piano and strings in the background, making it one of the most stripped down songs off of So Divided.
One of the strongest and most memorable tracks off of So Divided is closer “Sunken Dreams”. On this song, the generally uplifting tone on So Divided is pushed entirely to the background for a much moodier, haunting sound. With it’s far away, desperate vocals, rolling drums, and eerie rhythm. The end of the song combines this darker side of Trail Of Dead with the more upbuilding side through some almost enchanting group vocals layered on top of more determined and pulsing instruments. The title track, “So Divided” is the most accessible song, showcasing some of the best and most varied vocals of the album and drifting from a steady 90’s rock sound into an energetic, bouncy vibe complimented by twisting guitars and occasionally pounding drums.
Not only is So Divided pretty opposite of what would generally be expected from a band with a name like …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, it’s also a great example of the direction that experimental indie rock is hopefully headed in. Although piling so many different things into one album always runs the risk of sounding pretentious or just flat out noisy, Trail Of Dead manages to do so while still being endearing and, dare I say, fun. And rightfully so. Someone needed to slap that “scary name equals scary music” idea right out of the minds of the general public.
I also don't find how this album is uplifting in anyway. The lyrics are actually quite depressing, as they were written about the general narrow-mindedness of this bands usual audience.
Lyrically, yes. But throughout the album a good amount of the music used sounds completely contradictory to the lyrics. The lyrics are not so bright at all, but the music sounds almost carefree at some points. For me, that pretty much drowned out the lyrics in the sense that with this album I was trying to focus more on the actual makeup of the songs instrumentally (since there was so much put into them).
As far as scoring goes, to each their own.