Whoops. Only we could get forget to review the band who’s album we ranked number 1 two years ago. Maybe it was because it lacked the wow-factor of Furr, but despite many reviews stating the contrary, I’m not convinced that Furr is a better album. I spun both albums back to back (twice) and, at the end of my little sonic journey, I loved both equally. Furr was a gigantic leap forward from Wild Mountain Nation (a fantastic album in its own right), so Destroyer had some expectations to live up to.
What’s changed? Destroyer is proggy. As an avid fan of Yes, ELP and the Peter Gabriel led Genesis (Phil Collins is a pussy – great drummer though), I welcome this change with open arms. The opener and title track fully embodies this prog element. Part Nursery Cryme, part Harvest with just a hint of Abbey Road for flavor, this tune is the front runner for my favorite song of the year. They swing for the fences, cramming numerous ideas, tempo changes and flourishes to come up with an absolute stunner. If the whole album were this adventurous, I would have had a seizure on my back deck.
What else? They have guest collaborators. Alela Diane joins the band for “The Tree” and she sounds divine singing alongside Eric Earley. She should be a permanent member of Blitzen Trapper. Somebody needs to make this happen.
What hasn’t changed? Earley can still spin a tale. “The Man Who Would Speak True” is cut from the same mold as “Black River Killer” (easily my favorite tune off of Furr). They still like to include tunes with “and” or “+”. Much like Furr had “God + Suicide” and “Fire + Fast Bullets” back to back, Destroyer has “Love and Hate” and “Heaven and Earth” back to back. Not relevant, but it seems like interesting trivia somehow.
Where do they go from here? Blitzen Trapper is one the best bands touring today. Their live performances are killer and their albums are each uniquely spectacular. Unlike many bands we’re encountering this year that rehash their same sounds, Blitzen Trapper makes bold, risk-taking moves that keep fans on their toes. So in concluding one of the most rambling reviews I have ever penned for HearYa, I’ll leave you with this. If you don’t have this album, just get it and spend lots of quality time with it. It’s one of my favorites of the year.
Blitzen Trapper – Sadie
Blitzen Trapper – Below The Hurricane (acoustic)