Label: Sub Pop Release date: 08/06/10 Link: Official Site Oh Blitzen Trapper you make such pleasant folk rock. Oh you have made some great music! Oh you have released an album that opens with a…wait…six minute long song. On Destroyer Of The Void, Blitzen Trapper makes a small yet cognizant change from the sound they previously had with mixed results. It’s like taking your favorite mixed drink and adding in a bit of lemon juice – it’s what you know and enjoy but a little off. When Blitzen Trapper released Furr I was pretty blown away by how refined their sound had become as well as how much attention the band got. So when the first track is six minutes long and has a few distinct movements, my hopes got up…until about three and a half minutes in. I mean, you have to forgive me for expecting some lyrics about Cygnus X-1 or Temples of Syrinx or trees as allegory – there’s so much vocal affectation a la Geddy that it’s almost too derivative. Of course, that only lasts for two minutes before going in to some grandiose Kansas biting to close the tune. And while this kind of movement normally makes a long song into something incredible, however in this case it just seems like a misguided attempt at being ballsy, all form over function. Rather than emphasize the band’s folk rock aspects or their noisier pedigree, the titular track sets up some fake concept. Luckily the rest of the disc is the typical folk rock, and ultimately songs like ‘Love And Hate’ and ‘The Tailor’ showcase the band’s skill at writing riffs for whatever instrument they want to shine (something that Blitzen Trapper has been consistently good at). And sure, closing song ‘Sadie’ is part Beatles harmony, part Gospel organ, and part unfulfilling closer, but it seems fitting to have such a brief and sudden stop to counteract that overblown opening. Yes the narrative songs are there, and Eric Earley’s Tom Petty-meets-mid period Dylan voice has never sounded as sturdy, yet this is just so. Maybe it’s too polished after a release like Furr or maybe I want more torch songs to murderers. Maybe the album bogs itself down a bit at times with too many atmospheric moments at times, but you can always say that the band is trying to consistently evolve their sound in small ways. It’s an effective move, yes, but has led to the most maudlin disc by the band yet. Earley’s lyrics are still fine, but that opening track soils everything. It’s not hard to like Destroyer Of The Void with no knowledge of the band, or with only knowledge of Furr, but it is hard to like an album completely that tries to make a huge leap and barely catches stable ground. Photobucket