On their first album, Wild Mountain Nation, Blitzen Trapper was all over the place. They played classic rock in a crooked modern pop manner, but the vocals lacked clarity in delivery. Their newest album, Furr, offered hopes of better production with the backing of Sub Pop Records, and dreams of consistency.
Those of us with high hopes might have to admit that despite the band’s efforts, we are only having our needs fulfilled on one level, that of the vocal delivery. It’s predominant departure from their previous effort, which does make this one exceedingly better than its predecessor.
One would be hard-fought not to notice the 60s-70s rock influences draped across this entire album, but they were there in the past. The previous albums spoke softly of such influences, but they step it up entirely on this album. All of this is furthered by the strength in production on this album, which pushed the influences to the forefront, rather than disguising them in a lack of clarity created by walls of noise.
They did write one of their worst songs ever, and chose to include it. “Love U” is full of unadulterated yelping, and it rarely provides anything worth holding onto. It’s merely walls of screaming, accompanied by sloppy musicianship, and it stands right in the middle of the album–just skip it.
Almost every single listener who has a weakness for the folkier moments in rock n’ roll will surely find the rest of the album enjoyable. Each track seems to recall another musician at every turn, as if the band set out to write an album full of covers. Songs like “Echos/Always on/EZ con” and title track “Furr” are purely magnificent. The subdued tones of each song warrants repeated listens for the rest of the year; the folkier side of Blitzen Trapper is where the band, ultimately, performs at their best.
It would be easy to pigeonhole this band as one intent upon revisiting the past, but they seem to have their own spin on our heralded past. One would be remiss to toss this band to the side due to a lack of originality; give it a couple of spins and you’ll find that the songs seem strikingly modern. The band is knocking at the door step of a solid album, and Furr is an album that furthers that dream for both the listener and the band.