…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead: Worlds Apart

For the first minute and a half of “Will You Smile Again For Me”—the first song on Worlds Apart—Trail of Dead sounds like it has in the past. …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead: Worlds Apart (Interscope)

Worlds Apart will alienate every single fan of …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. It should, at least. It should piss them off that their volatile guitar smashers have opted to make such beautiful music as opposed to yet another our-guitars-sound-really-cool-and-loud album. What it comes down to, though, is whether or not fans will overcome this alienation and accept the brilliant body of work Trail of Dead has created.

The best way to approach Worlds Apart is by not thinking of it as a Trail of Dead album. Everything established about the band should vanish, and these 12 songs should stand as fresh music. This is tough but ultimately rewarding, as this early 2005 release is better than nearly any album from last year.

The band’s previous full-length effort, Source Tags & Codes, was fantastic; it layered abusive guitars and aggressive drumming for an all out musical attack. The sound was massive and occasionally exhausting, but by the time Trail of Dead released The Secret of Elena’s Tomb EP, this sound got a bit old.

For the first minute and a half of “Will You Smile Again For Me”—the first song on Worlds Apart—Trail of Dead sounds like it has in the past. Then the bottom drops out, and the wall of guitars disappears. A quiet horn emerges above subtle static. Vocalist Conrad Keely is the focus as his voice is mixed noticeably higher than the instruments, which is a bit odd considering he is typically muffled. The composition is intriguing, and the thirst for more develops.

The album’s title track, even though it’s introduced by children’s playful screams followed by Keely dropping the f-bomb, boasts an upbeat time signature and a catchiness level just begging to be played on the next season of The OC. With Keely’s vocals yet again shining above the music, he spouts off about the problems with celebrity culture—ironic because “Worlds Apart” could easily land itself plays on the very television network it speaks out against. Trail of Dead has never been a lyrically driven band, but despite a few cringe moments, Keely holds his newly prominent vocal duties with confidence and strength.

Each song on the album has its own moment, or moments, of brilliance and individuality. “And The Rest Will Follow” has its crystal production comparable with Death Cab for Cutie, and “The Best” has its break into an dramatic piano chug.

Trail of Dead’s music is now no longer just the build up to the “good” part of its live show, when the band goes ape shit and breaks stuff. As incredible as Source Tags & Codes was, it still seemed like the song dynamic was specifically structured for that purpose. Now the band has the chance to escape the novelty its concerts had become because Worlds Apart doesn’t cater to such actions.

What it does cater to, however, is sitting hour after hour in front of a stereo, obsessively replaying each track and realizing 2005 has lofty goals if it expects to top this release.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply