Audible Musings

Blitzen Trapper – Furr
June 23, 2009, 4:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I discover albums as they come to me, I suppose. This one has been out for a while and is the most recent (2008) effort from Oregon’s self-dubed “experimental folk” sextet Blitzen Trapper. It is the almost immediate follow up to their ’07 album titled Wild Mountain Nation, that received critical acclaim from hipster-giants pitchfork and spin magazine. Furr was by far their most well recieved album to date, garnering two page reviews by rolling stone as the band slowly worked itself into the world of MSM. As much as this band does have their “experimenta folk” moments, I would liken them to, at points, a modern version of Bob Dylan mixed with, in certain songs, electronic elements. As a whole, the album seems to sway back and forth from this Dylan influence, for example the deep boom-chick behind the title track, Furr, as well as the reverby harmonica slinking its way behind the drawl of lead singer Eric Earley sounds like as much of a Dylan knockoff as ever. The progression is even reminicent of Mr. Tambourine Man. The band turns around from that and then makes hard rocking tunes like “Fire & Fast Bullets,” that one second has me thinking im listening to a garage band, and then a second later slaps a filter on Eric’s voice, adds harmonized oo’s in the background, and a synth porgammento swoops in as fireworks crackle behind the cacophony. How a band goes from one to the other over the course of two tunes is astounding to me, but it somehow works. The songwriting potential and knowhow that this band exudes never ceases to amaze. They’ve even got some Doors-sounding keys in the background of the next song, “Saturday Nite.” This tune is by far the most fitting of the experimental folk label. Blitzen Trapper combine Van Morrison-like bum-bum-bums with a banjo clucking behind what sounds like a melodica, capped off by tambourine shaking and distorted guitar playing a controlled improvisation. All in all, they manage to accomplish a truly unique sound that works. They even take a song that sounds like a Neil Young knock off and make it unique! The placement and instrumentation of this band is definitely something that stands out for me. In the end, though, the crown jewel of the entire album is the epic “Love U.” It’s the heaviest song on the album. It opens with a Helter Skelter-esque scream, and drops into a muddy, at times free-time sludge that takes the listener into the duldrums of a bad acid trip, or the loss of a true love, whichever works. Either way, the pounding of minor chords combined with the oo’s of vocal harmonization in the background make for a monumental song of epic proportions. When it breaks down and Eric comes back in with his vocal harmonies, it absolutely gives me the chills. Its one of those rare tunes that I wish could just go on forever. All in all, a fantastic album thats musical spectrum is as immense as any band I have ever heard. Definitely worth your time!

Blitzen Trapper – Furr


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