Blitzen Trapper “All Across This Land”
If we’re honest, we were a bit late in discovering Blitzen Trapper. However, when we did review their last album, we were sure glad that we had checked them out. That album was full of unique twists and made us very intrigued as to what this latest release would offer.
The opening track is the title track, “All Across The Land”, and the first surprise is actually how straight forward it is! It’s a melodic song which retains an Americana style but also suggests a more West Coast, sunshine vibe. It’s a feeling which continues on the excellent “Rock and Roll”. That’s a track which is appropriately ‘rocking’ early on, but the focus is very much on the melody.
The emphasis of the whole album seems to be built on those strong melodies and with a more laid back and relaxed feel. “Mystery And Wonder” has a sound which is reminiscent of the brilliant Brendan Benson. Along with songs like “Nights Were Made” and “Cadillac Road”, there is an almost power pop appeal to them. They’re songs that you could easily see having wider commercial appeal.
“Lonesome Angel” is the kind of pop/country ballad that Ryan Adams is constantly striving to achieve (when not covering Taylor Swift!). Similarly, “Let the Cards Fall” is a mix of Americana and pop that bands find so hard to marry together as well as Blitzen Trapper have done here. The album then concludes with “Across The River” which just has Dylan written all over it.
Long term fans of Blitzen Trapper are probably used to expecting the unexpected from the band. The twist here is actually the simplicity of the songs. In many ways, it reminds us of Wilco’s self titled album. It’s like the band have stripped their song writing back and decided to focus on just delivering great tunes without any tinkering or distractions. It’s possible, that some may see this as a backwards step. However, that would be missing the point. It’s easier to hide behind studio effects and gimmicks. The skill that the band have demonstrated on this album, is their ability to write superior songs in comparison to many of their contemporaries. Although, it doesn’t make it any easier to figure out how their next album will sound!!!