It looks like the boys from San Francisco went and got themselves a little bit of a polish and shine. It may seem out of character for a band that has been labeled as “cowpunk,” but it’s not like Trainwreck Riders have gone all American Idol on us.
The formula remains the same. Lead Singer, Pete Frauenfelder delivers his folksy, Americana vocals while the rhythm section of Steve Kerwin keeps the band moving forward with a furious energy that is the driving force of the band. Add to that a host of flourishes such as accordion, saw and‚ fiddle that give the band a more texture without losing their trademark sound.
I’ve been waiting on this release since I saw Trainwreck Riders perform in Austin over two years ago. The stage is their natural element and allows Frauenfelder and Kerwin to feed off the crowd and fire around the stage with reckless abandon. The production team of Patrick Brown (The Black Lips, Gomez), and mixed with Jon Kaplan (Ash, Granddaddy) has done a great job of capturing that energy on the album, while not losing sight of their evolution as songwriters.
“Chug Along” sounds exactly like what you would expect a tune named “Chug Along” to sound like. It ambles along in no particular hurry, keeping you interested at every meandering turn. Fellow HearYa writer, Starkey, thought it sounded like a Modest Mouse tune, but I always come back to Uncle Tupelo when describing their sound.
A couple of the other standouts are “Three To The Clouds” with some nice female harmonies, “Trainwreck Heart” that has a twisting, twangy guitar lick and “Upon The Losing End.” Trainwreck Riders’ follow up exceeds two years of expectations and is one my favorite releases so far this year. Next up on their list of things to keep to me happy is a tour through Chicago.