Blitzen Trapper

Let's set the record straight. Despite a long list of rock writers claiming the contrary, Blitzen Trapper is not an Americana band. Sure, the band tinkers with roots rock: a little Creedence twang here, some Crazy Horse crunch there. But beyond the pedal-steel-led ballad "Stolen Shoes and a Rifle," the Portland, Oregon, outfit employs these rustic tricks to flavor an aesthetic that falls squarely in the glam/power-pop camp. Blitzen Trapper is a lot like the Move, those British Invasion misfits who eventually morphed into the Electric Light Orchestra. Both groups juxtapose music-box ear candy — think "Lady Madonna" and "Penny Lane" — with bruising hooligan beats and platinum-clad riffage. "Fire and Fast Bullets" and "Gold for Bread," Furr's top rockers, would sound right at home on Top of the Pops circa 1972. These acts also assimilate an array of styles (in addition to country rock) without muddying their core thrust. "Love U" is a wonderfully bombastic chunk of faux-metal, while "Echo/Always On/Easy Con" begins life as a lush, woe-is-me piano ballad ("I'm just an echo out in space") and gradually evolves into a dubby blaxploitation breakdown complete with melodica and shag carpet shuffle. The album's only bad turn comes with "Black River Killer"; these dudes should've known better than to flirt with Mellow Gold-inspired folk rap.

 
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