It’s strange; sometimes, bands that have been around for a while often don’t change their sound, be it for fear that they will lose those who became enraptured by their original sound, or that they just don’t see themselves as anything else than what they were before. This seems to be the case with Blitzen Trapper on this album, as their only shift seems to be to a bit more of a bluesy spin on their Americana craft.
American Goldwing is one of those albums that just don’t have enough chutzpah to keep me focused and interested in for more than five songs. It starts out fairly strong, even though nothing novel, but progressively ceases to retain my interest as the songs drag on and on to its close. The first song, “Might Find It Cheap,” sums up this phenomenon in a single swoop. Yea, it’s a good song and I can get down with those fuzzy guitars and the traditionally tangy vocals, I just feel like I’ve heard it from Blitzen Trapper before. Their distinct crookedly country Americana rock sound works against them in that the sound from previous albums resonates deeper and makes it hard to listen to these tracks when I know there are astoundingly better renditions on Furr or other prior albums.
My favorite track on this record comes third, at a time where I’m looking for something to spice up this album. “Love the Way You Walk Away,” takes a new stance that I’ve been longing for this band to take. Even though it is of a country note, which I don’t often find myself enjoying, there is new territory to be covered at last. Bluesy undertones patter in the background while harmonies swoon in the foreground. If you listen carefully, you can hear deep bass drums at some points and of course there is that steel pedal guitar that pushes the song around in dominance. Late in the track, this band slows things down with a little harmonica and it’s easy to find yourself singing right alongside Eric Earley and the rest of the gang. It’s simply the song with the most redeeming and interesting qualities to be found on American Goldwing.
By all means, if you are a Blitzen Trapper addict, you’ll love this album. It has everything that you’ve already been shown, perhaps with one or two tracks that take a new direction. As for me, and I’m sure others, I’m in need of something a little bit fresher to keep me intrigued in this band’s sound. Perhaps it is coming on their next release, or perhaps I just need to revisit those old gems in the catalog of this band.