In their 20 year history, Austin, Texas act …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead have never been a by the book kind of band, always shifting and turning in unpredictable directions. An incredibly hard band to pigeonhole, one that has over time been adorned tags such from hardcore, to prog, to indie rock and even mathcore; trying to quickly define this band is a waste of time.
This ‘trend’ of the unexpected continues on ninth album, IX (Superball Music), with songs that were originally intended for use in film and television as instrumentals, before the creative rivers flowed some more. Also surprisingly is how refined and near simplistic it all is (in comparison to previous work at least). Still far from being an AC/DC template like band but IX does relinquish their sense of indulgence and expansion for a more streamlined approach, somewhere between their punk influences and indie rock, with the merest suggestion of prog. ‘A Million Random Digits’ is one of the more up tempo moments and has an aggressive streak in comparison to the synth driven ‘Jaded Apostles’ that precedes it.
On the first instrumental effort, ‘How To Avoid Huge Ships’ is where we are reminded just how bombastic this band can be when they turn up the prog; with piano and strings bolstering and building the song over its course, bigger and bigger. It is in this latter half of the album where the band’s extravagant side rears its head again, with these instrumentals and the long players like ‘Lost In The Grand Scheme’, in contrast to the short and sharper blocks in the previous half.
IX is another turn in this band’s very winding road and one that sees many of their sides come together, and at times in an all new perspective. There are signs of their punk like volatility and their whimsical prog side and a little in between. Another fine addition to their already captivating catalogue; this band simply refuses to be boring.
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