steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead

"Worlds Apart" CD

Interscope Records

Genres: indie rock, punk rock

band website

Jan 31 - Feb 6 2005

I was recently surprised to read a less-than-complimentary review of Worlds Apart in a certain prominent indie zine.  While I'm willing to concede that, perhaps, this record isn't Trail Of Dead's best, I don't think it can be faulted for not living up to the promise of its predecessor.  When push comes to shove, this is a strong release from the band - it may be a bit overdramatic at times, but it's more melodic and effective than most of its ilk.  Some may be concerned that Trail Of Dead is running thin on inventiveness, treading the same warm water, but I wouldn't jump to that conclusion yet.  Worlds Apart is a particularly accessible venture for the band - perhaps the most plausibly mainstream record they've come up with yet - and, if you just let yourself enjoy it, there should be nothing stopping you from lapping it all up.

So let's attack this record from start to finish.  Orchestral opener "Overture" introduces Worlds Apart with considerable fanfare and drama; it's got a sense of irony behind it, but it also gets your adrenaline going.  After a screech from the bowels of goodness-knows-where, we get "Will You Smile Again For Me," a charging, pounding anthem that recalls the Trail Of Dead of old, though it comes off a bit crisper and more refined.  It's a nice song, but it's really just a little foreplay before the album's title-track (seven minutes of foreplay for a three minute climax...), which has a nice, carefree sound that is a bit punky but still powerfully melodic.  It definitely has some mainstream potential, but it isn't the most memorable song on here.

"Summer 93" kicks in with some really impressive quiet-loud contrasts, though for some reason it doesn't seem like it's own piece (in the way that the title-track does.)  Next up, "And The Rest Will Follow" is founded on a particularly strong melody (alternative radio, look out!), while "Caterwaul" is aggressive but melodically dry.  Fortunately, the pounding "Classic Art Showcase" makes up for this discrepancy with a powerful, desperate chorus that should get anyone yelling along.  It makes use of a neat string-based interlude that really accentuates its climactic finale.  Any self-respecting (or self-loathing) teenager should dig it, as well as the cathartic angst-rush that comes with it.  "Let It Dive" keeps the good times rolling with a catchy, sensitive melody, while "Russia My Homeland" and "All White" are brief and ultimately unnecessary.  "The Best" is a dynamic rock song with piano  used to add a touch of moodiness - though it reminds me of that "best a man can get" razor commercial - and "City of Refuge," the album's last song, has a comfortable Pinback-esque structure that leads into a chorus reminiscent of Trail Of Dead's old work.

So now that you've skipped over the guts of this review just to glance at the concluding paragraph, I'll try to make myself clear:  Is Worlds Apart revelatory?  No.  But as far as grandly dynamic indie rock goes, nobody does this quite as well as Trail Of Dead.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 12 tracks, distributed everywhere, released 2005]