...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead - Source Tags and Code

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2002-03-04

Prior to the release of Source Codes And Tags, Texan punk rock quartet Trail Of Dead were best known for their predilection for smashing their instruments to smithereens. In the aftermath of this record's release, if there's any justice, they'll be known as one of the best rock & roll bands on the planet. This, their third record (and debut for a major label) consigns much of Trail Of Dead's old ways--atonal Sonic Youth scree, and a occasional tendency to rate posture over content--to the dustbin of history. Rather, Source Codes And Tags sounds hungry for mainstream success: "Baudelaire" purloins The Who's lightning-charged mod template and subjects it to a thrilling millennial makeover, the sort of ramshackle crunch that sounds red-raw, but huge enough to fill a stadium, while "Another Morning Stoner" ebbs and flows between chiming, ambient guitar passages and fuming Stooges crunch with a subtlety that often eluded the band in the past. Sure, Source Codes And Tags is still Trail Of Dead in essence. But where this band of smash-happy hellraisers used to be happy enough trashing their kit, now they sound ready to launch themselves headlong through the plate-glass window of the rock & roll hall of fame. --Louis Pattison

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