If you are looking for a musical equivalent to the graffiti lining the walls of the local art school where hipster students hang around and talk about Sartre’s idea of non-existent, then …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead is the band you need.
Getting their name from old Mayan Text, …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead is an art-house collective of three fine, but completely erratic, boys who go by the names of Jason Reece, Conrad Keely and Kevin Allen. Founded by Reece and Keely in 1994, Trail of Dead moved from the indie town of Olympia, WA to Austin, TX where they recruited Allen. Each special in their own anarchic way, the lads of …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead have come forth as a reigning figure in the indie scene and has just release their fifth album Worlds Apart.
Worlds Apart opens its curtain in a traumatically surreal display of silence with the dark, symphonic track “Ode to Isis”. Daring and destructive rock n roll that bears the burden and the soul, Worlds Apart is a captivating and magnetic set of crisp bass lines and collapsing feedback. A caldron brew of envy, lost, catastrophe and mischief, Trail of Dead mixes a poisoning punch of gritty overzealous art rock with distaste for satisfaction into cubes of classically trimmed rhythms and movements.
A orchestra piece of epic proportions, Worlds Apart is a massacre of sound and politics, bringing forth ideas of freedom, hypocrisy and change into the weaving pattern of bitter guitars and strained singing. The title track “Worlds Apart” takes the most typical topic of celebrity boredom and the false American dream is turned into a sharp slap in the face. “How they laughed as we shoveled the ashes/of the twin towers/Blood and Death, we will pay back the debt/for this candy store of ours…” sings the exhausted Keely while he and Conrad beat their drums and shred their guitars with Allen cowering in the corner with his electricity. …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead also protests against inaction and passivity on “A Classic Art Showcase.” With lyrics such as “I could write or I could read/Go next door and smoke some weed/As long as I don’t have to think/about who the hell is running this mess/Or what shit they’re writing up in the Stone or NME,” it is easy to sense the distress found in the he ads of these young men. Other note worthy tracks, such as the nostalgic “The Summer of ’91,” the melancholy “The Rest Will Follow,” and the oddly romantic “All White,” Worlds Apart curtails a sound of pure noise and shattering percussion in between.
Closing with the vibrant, yet eerie, “The Lost City of Refuge” in an apocalyptic display of bombs, bullets and love, Worlds Apart is a beautiful, yet unbearable display of passion. With breath-taking artwork and a sense of remorse, Worlds Apart is a must for your collection. I give this rusty gem a 9.2 out of 10.
By: Annamarya Scaccia – Contributing Writer (2005)