Dusted Reviews

Blitzen Trapper - Destroyer of the Void

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Blitzen Trapper

Album: Destroyer of the Void

Label: Sub Pop

Review date: Jun. 9, 2010

For a band once praised for its eclecticism, Blitzen Trapper has rapidly become comfortable reproducing one very particular era of American music. Its breakthrough album, Wild Mountain Nation, did indeed find ways to blend 1970s-era psych and Americana with the more muscular composition style familiar from mid-1990s indie rock. Their last album, Furr, was noticeably more polished, and seemingly drew its inspiration from early 1970s alt-country. The title song sounded like an outtake by the Flying Burrito Brothers, albeit with slightly less twang, and “Black River Killer” – later released as an EP – a first-person outlaw-country tale.

Their new album, Destroyer of the Void, covers a lot of the same ground. The only fundamental difference is that while Furr was a modern gloss on those forerunners, Destroyer of the Void goes further in trying to recreate the dreamy atmosphere of the era.

The contemplatively-paced piano ballad “Heaven and Earth” is one example; bandleader Eric Earley even recreates the whispery, slightly distracted vocals that are distinctive to 1970s singer-songwriters. (This is best seen on the Numero Group’s Wayfaring Strangers: Lonesome Heroes compilation – nearly everyone sang with the same faux-British lilt.) “The Tree,” a duet between Earley and Alela Diane, has a finger-picked guitar line and the kind of romantic imagery (“when your loves rains down, just like diamonds all around”) reminiscent of the same time. The best example, though, is “The Tailor,” a bouncing mid-tempo song with some fantastical lyrics about a guy who raises a family, then becomes a privateer, and then later a tailor (it makes more sense when he claims to be ageless).

Which is not to say that Destroyer of the Void is just a revival of Nixon-era balladeering. “The Man Who Would Speak True” is a country song that tells a poetic story about a murderer with supernatural powers, while “Evening Star” sounds quite a bit like early Tom Petty. There’s little experimentation, however; the lone exception is the opening title track, which, over the course of six minutes, proceeds through several movements that are almost like a précis of Blitzen Trapper’s last few albums.

As with any album that takes its cues from a particular subgenre or time period, your judgment of Destroyer of the Void will depend on your feelings about its influences. It’s competently done, as these things go. This is Blitzen Trapper’s fifth album, and there’s a sturdy professionalism evident on each of the songs. But it’s such a faithful recreation of a particular style that its appeal will in all likelihood be correspondingly limited.

By Tom Zimpleman

Other Reviews of Blitzen Trapper


Read More

View all articles by Tom Zimpleman

Find out more about Sub Pop

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.