...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Lost Songs
It was with a frisson of excitement - and not a little foreboding - that the new ...Trail Of Dead was fired up on the old TMF gramophone. Would they continue the prog rock bonkers-ness of 2011's Tao of the Dead or return to the rather mundane, by-the-numbers rock of the previous two albums? As the brooding, rat-a-tat opening of ‘Open Doors‘ starts up, a fear of the former takes over but then, something unexpected happens: it explodes into an exhilarating, fuzzed-up piece of everything-louder-than-everything-else rock ‘n’ roll. The equally exhilarating ‘Pinhole Cameras’ pounds along relentlessly and you can’t help but wonder how these Texans, who seemed so lost a few years ago, have managed to reignite the energy, power and edge that made them such a vital presence at the turn of the century.
Whatever caused frontmen Conrad Keely and Jason Reece to return to their roots is unclear but whatever it was, it’s just great to have them doing what they do best. There are still some proggy moments on display, as on ‘A Place To Rest’, but they are used sparingly and enhance rather than overpower the songs - a failing in the past. The acoustic-tinged ‘Time and Again’ closes proceedings in a joyously upbeat manner and the only sensible thing left to do is crank it up and start all over again.
As a million football pundits have opined, 'form is temporary, class is permanent' and …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead have proven the wisdom of such a hackneyed cliché. Lost Songs is one of the most thrilling, raucous rock records of the year.