... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
Festival Thyme (Richter Scale)
Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., Nov. 7, 2008
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of DeadFestival Thyme (Richter Scale)
Trail of Dead's last album, 2006's So Divided, proved an existential equipoise of blind ambition and pure frustration, documenting the locally based art-rock outfit splitting at its seams. Having since parted ways with Interscope and formed its own label, Richter Scale, a subsidiary of Houston's Justice Records, TOD rings chimes of freedom throughout Festival Thyme, a digitally released preface to the band's sixth LP, due in January. Opener "Bells of Creation (Machete Mix)" slowly builds from a single piano note to a cathartic wall of sound, a newfound streak of optimism underscoring Conrad Keely's lyricism. The celebratory spirit carries over to the title track, a jovial romp of baroque pop, and the more ornate "Inland Sea," balancing progressive movements and post-rock guitar. "The Betrayal of Roger Casement & the Irish Brigade" sounds like a modern instrumental interpretation of Renaissance's Turn of the Cards. (4:50pm, Stage 1.)
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