And You Will Know Us By The Tr
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The eponymous debut of anarchic art-punkers ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead first surfaced on Texan label Trance Syndicate in early 1998--a furious flashstorm of detuned guitars recalling the ragged freeform dynamic of Sonic Youth, the guitar-mangling showman excess of The Who, and--on "Gargoyle Waiting"--a tendency to slip into flights of borderline-prog Dungeons & Dragons fantasy. It was, unsurprisingly, a huge hit with the few critics that actually got to hear it--but Trance Syndicate's eventual bankruptcy saw the record sink without trace this side of the pond.
Ever the showmen, though, ...Trail Of Dead's cult reputation quickly began to precede them; when the Austin quartet hit it big with their mighty second album Madonna, promoted by a series of well-publicised and splendidly anarchic British live shows, their British label Domino were quick to exhume and re-release this seminal debut. Fans of Madonna might be surprised; tucked around the righteous punk-rock rallying calls, there are a few experimental forays like "Novena Without Faith" that reveal a far more experimental side to Trail Of Dead's oeuvre--although unlike Sonic Youth, when they are out there, they seldom put a foot wrong. A baptism of fire? ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead ranks up there with the best of them. -- Louis Pattison
Top Customer Reviews
AYWKUBTTOD are just like those kids - the world of music is their playground, and once onstage they just CAN'T KEEP STILL. At the first live show I saw (before this lovely gem was released) they broke a snare drum on the first song, and were shocked when another local band lent them a drum (bands in their native Austin know better). I remember drummer/guitarist/singer #2, Jason, walking offstage in mid-set and twirling around on the floor on one arm, as if to stir up the crowd like a human blender. These guys have a lot of energy to release, and usually take it out on their arsenal of equipment that knows it lives on borrowed time.
Sonically, this band makes an undeniable nod to the great Sonic Youth era where beautiful noisescapes were barely contained within 'song' frameworks. The Trail of Dead boys have done their homework, and offer a storybook of consistently mesmerizing works of sheer power and pensive grace.
In the album's opener, they get their manifesto right out there, ("This is a riot, right??") as if to warn the timid to hang on dearly. Then "Novena Without Faith" proves just how many gears of the rock machine these guys have mastered with a mellow, yet driving, dreamy quality. Check out the sound byte enclosed here of "Fake Fake Eyes" to hear how much territory they can seamlessly cover in 30 seconds.
Their albums can be addicting for the sheer force of the moods they create, particularly in "Gargoyle Waiting" which sounds like one of them took up residence atop a cathedral in December.Read more ›
JIM JARMUSCH WOULD surely be intrigued. After all, it isn't every week that a band turns up from Austin, Texas via Olympia and Hawaii with a moniker ten words long which implies much shadowy miserablism going down in the spooky ol' Midwest. Either that, or we're about to uncover Cradle Of Filth's long lost cousins of symphonic carnage...
Fear not, kids of popness: And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead are actually four well-turned out chaps with uniform mod crops and biographical details along the lines of "a self-contained destruction unit". They made their live debut in 1995, this is their first ever album, and against several odds it rocks like a raccoon on a snowboard.
For Yankophile thrill-seekers the globe over, Sonic Youth and Afghan Whigs are the most obvious reference points lurking within the likes of 'Richter Scale Madness' and 'When We Begin To Steal' respectively. From Da Yoof they purloin searing guitars; from Les Whigs they adopt that mixture of menace and pathos, captured within the audacious sprawl of 'Novena Without Faith' which fizzles for eight-and-a-half minutes.
Of course, size isn't everything. Many of these eight tracks are content to whiplash in around the classic three-minute mark, although the majority are probably a tad too whacked-out for mass consumption. On 'Fake Fake Eyes' AYWKUBTTOD (cheers!) make like Urusei Yatsura's dads; during 'Prince With A Thousand Enemies' you could swear they were parodying Placebo's 'Bruise Pristine'; 'When We Begin To Steal' is quite, quite lovely, climaxing in a mosquito dub storm. And the rest scrambles past with varying degrees of foxiness, niftiness and a few other words that rhyme with 'bloody marvellous musical mess'.
Which is nice.
8/10 Simon Williams
Most recent customer reviews
Trail of Dead are everything rock music should be. They're an unbelievable live band, and "Richter Scale Madness" sounds an inch away of veering wildly out of control,... Read morePublished on Dec 23 2002 by Laura Schweitzer
"BRILLIANT" "half of what" kicks
great cd get it if you are a true trail of dead fan, it's worth the money. Read more
This album I hung onto. I gave Madonna away. My only complaint about this album is that the cover art looks very cheapo-computer generated, which is a shame as it's a nice design. Read morePublished on Nov. 23 2001 by Kevin Parrish Claussen
Godbless.... is the only word i could utter after i finished listening to this amazing cd. It has everything you would want and ever crave in a band. Read morePublished on Jan. 7 2000 by ruben
We've been waiting a year for the next release, which is rumored to be on Merge Records. Is this true? Why are you making us wait?Published on July 28 1999