...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – IX
Funny thing, perspective. Sometimes a band’s most spectacular achievements come so early that memory renders them frozen in the moment, as with ...Trail Of Dead’s spectacular Source Tags and Codes in 2002. The roar, the songs, the incandescent rough’n’tumble of imagination that spewed forth from every track… so imposing is the shadow cast by that record that it’s difficult to identify those monolithic feats of imagination with the sturdier rock band they’ve grown into.
It’s a shame too, because these noisy Austinites still have plenty to offer. Conrad Keely’s youthful rage may have subsided as the years roll by, but he’s rarely written choruses as stridently magnificent as Life Without a Liar’s effortless refrain, while the understated Bus Lines pushes this knack for simple hooks into unexpectedly sedate pastures. Solid rather than molten, storming rather than stunning, their ninth album offers a refinement of their youthful flights of fancy, proving that ageing gracefully is no bad thing.