Review : Blitzen Trapper - Furr
AVclubThe Oregonians of Blitzen Trapper often sounded like a ray-gun-wielding Grateful Dead cover band on 2007's Wild Mountain Nation, so it's no surprise that frontman Eric Earley calls himself a "moonwalking cowboy" and implores listeners to "leave this world somehow" on the band's fourth full-length. More surprising is the fact that it isn't all meaningless science-fiction babble: On its most focused album yet, Blitzen Trapper seems concerned with the ways a person can escape the terrestrial while staying on earth. Furr is a celebration of passion and abandon, featuring teens gone feral, God-fearing psycho killers, and other characters engulfed by the dangerous, antisocial forces of love, dance, God, and suicide. Throughout, Earley stresses how primal instinct magnifies rather than destroys identity, so it makes a kind of unexpected sense that these 12 roots-rocking songs come with less blippy weirdness and fewer noisy sideshows than before. Blitzen Trapper is just acting natural: The Neil Young and Beatles influences are laid bare, the quirkiness is now more tuneful than cerebral, and the band has surrendered to the basic human craving for candied country melodies....full text
PopmattersPortland, Oregon’s Blitzen Trapper have never been able to sit still. After their first album of relatively straightforward, if a little oddball, folk pop, their next two albums—Field Rexx and Wild Mountain Nation—found them going wild. Both albums were full of eccentric tracks, genre-hopping from country waltzes to lo-fi indie rock to folk ballads to some unidentifiable mish-mash of these influences and more. They are a band that is always fresh and always exciting, but when they turn down the distortion and turn up the melodies, there is an Americana band hiding in Blitzen Trapper. Not one that fashions a pedal steel and sings about drinking and bar fights, but one more genuine than that. A band that sounds organic, that lets its influences bleed into its songs, rather than the other way around.
Furr, the new album, shows the band pushing their Americana side confidently into the spotlight. Rather than hop from genre to genre to create a sort of mosaic, Blitzen Trapper mines folk and country and roots rock and finds their common ground, while still reaching for the most out-there permutations of those sounds. The first two songs show how the band branches out, while still keeping the same thread moving. “Sleepytime in the Western World” is a giant, organ-soaked pop song, while “Gold for Bread” is a guitar-driven chunk of power pop. But if you strip away the many layers of both, they reveal themselves to be bouncy bits of ‘70s southern rock....full text
AllmusicReleased in 2007, Wild Mountain Nation, Blitzen Trapper's third collection of misty, lo-fi, Americana-infused art pop, drew critical acclaim as fast as it switched keys, setting the eclectic Pacific Northwest outfit up for a possible breakthrough with its impending follow-up. One of the many benefits of having your own recording studio (no matter how grand or rickety) is the ability to churn out an album whenever you feel like it, which is why 2008's Furr is so remarkable. The 21st century indie rock D.I.Y. method of record production has a tendency to hold speed and cost over sound quality, but Blitzen Trapper's first release for Sub Pop doesn't just improve upon the promise of WMN, it expands its sonic horizons as well, narrowing the mixtape glee that fueled its predecessor with just enough maturity to lend it considerable weight -- the title track alone, an instantly memorable tale of a boy raised by wolves, seduced by a girl, then returned to the wild, feels timeless in a way few modern songs ever achieve. Fans who were drawn in by the group's manic Of Montreal-meets-Grateful Dead backwoods effusiveness will rally around leadoff tracks "Sleepy Time in the Western World" and "Gold for Bread," both of which mine familiar Blitzen Trapper pop territory, but it's the late-'60s/early-'70s sundown vibe of artists like Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (especially the latter's experimental Symphonion Dream album) that the majority of these new songs bask in....full text
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