Blitzen Trapper - Wild and Reckless

by Nathan Fidler Rating:7 Release Date:2017-11-03

There is a mixed up origin story you need to get your head around for this latest Blitzen Trapper album: somehow, among albums, they managed to find the time to stage a country-musical, rock-opera production in Portland. The musical has close ties to their early album Furr, and from the original songs written for the production the band went ahead and cultivated a new album, Wild and Reckless.

Now that’s tidied up, we can move on to the album, since very little of where the ideas came from matters a great deal. This album can be judged solely on the content itself. With that in mind, opener ‘Rebel’ is a great place to start, with a tale of a down-and-out lover descending into crime. “The one I love had left me and in truth I knew she would” is the cutting line and a fair summation of the album’s themes.

Blitzen Trapper are at their best when they add something different into the country-rock. They give this a go on tracks like ‘Forever Pt. 2’ with some success; a synth vocoder and a funkily distorted riff the soundtrack to a shooting star before leaning into a soft, loving ballad.

The more standard tracks - including the titular ‘Wild & Reckless’ - feel less engaging but Blitzen Trapper have a way of making even the most basic pick-up truck love songs feel sweeping and epic. ‘Joanna’ on the other hand, is a lumbering tale of a girl recounting the revenge she took on her assaulter as a teenager, and given the nature of the content, it’s surprising how drab it feels. Lyrically, as with most of Eric Earley’s work, it’s not weak, but it feels off-kilter somehow. ‘Baby Won’t You Turn Me On’ suffers a similar, yawn-inducing affliction - the opposite to what they probably had in mind.

Elsewhere there is the enjoyably stomping ‘Dance With Me’, the line dancing ‘Love Live On’ and the bluesy ‘When I’m Dying’ which delivers a repetitive but effortlessly cool riff. As ever, there is much to enjoy from this band; different to it’s predecessor in that it doesn’t feel quite ripe as a whole group of songs, it’s certainly not because the band have taken their foot off pedal.

If you haven’t been charmed by any of Blitzen Trapper’s previous work, this isn’t an album you need try. If, however, they’ve caught your eye with their breezy rock, often experimental country and blues and general smoothness of melody and lyricism, then definitely take the time out to get wild and reckless.



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