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...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead: IX [Box]

Track List

>Doomsday Book, The
>Jaded
>Million Random Digits, A
>Lie Without a Liar, The
>Ghost Within, The
>Dragonfly Queen, The
>How To Avoid Huge Ships
>Bus Lines
>Lost In the Grand Scheme
>Like Summer Tempests Came His Tears
>Sound of the Silk
>Tao of the Dead, Pt. 3

Album Reviews:

. And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead's ninth album -- named not for its place in the band's discography, but for a planet in Frank Herbert's Dune series -- doesn't aim to recreate the fervor of The Century of Self, Tao of the Dead or Lost Songs. Instead, Conrad Keely, Jason Reece and company opt for a more introspective outlook, but even their personal crises are on a grand scale, taking on biblical proportions on "Jaded Apostles" and riffing on Sigmund Freud's The Ego and the Id on "The Lie Without a Liar." Songs such as these and the blustery breakup lament "The Ghost Within" give IX's first half a similar tempo and emotional tenor, but touches like the formidable percussion on "A Million Random Digits" and the quintessentially Trail of Dead gallop of "Doomsday Book" add depth. "The Dragonfly Queen" turns IX's midtempo churn into a strength, delivering dark, jangly pop that distills album's emotions; later, "Bus Lines" provides a similar intimacy despite its substantial length. Elsewhere, lavish instrumentals like "How to Avoid Huge Ships" counterbalance the intensity of "Lost in the Grand Scheme," the album's most blazing track. ~ Heather Phares

Album Notes

Personnel: Chris "Frenchie" Smith (vocals, guitar, Mellotron, percussion, sampler).

Audio Mixers: Sean Rolie; ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead; Chris "Frenchie" Smith .

Recording information: Sonic Ranch; White Door Studios.

Considering the volatile, sometimes contradictory sounds and impulses ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead bring together in their music, it's remarkable that the band's track record is so consistent. However, on IX, their extremes meet in the middle in a way that often feels too balanced. The group's ninth album -- named not for its place in Trail of Dead's discography, but for a planet in Frank Herbert's Dune series -- doesn't aim to re-create the fervor of The Century of Self, Tao of the Dead, or Lost Songs. Instead, Conrad Keely, Jason Reece, and company opt for a more introspective outlook, but even their personal crises are on a grand scale, taking on biblical proportions on "Jaded Apostles" and riffing on Sigmund Freud's The Ego and the Id on "The Lie Without a Liar." Songs such as these and the blustery breakup lament "The Ghost Within" give IX's first half a similar tempo and emotional tenor that border on monotony; fortunately, touches like the formidable percussion on "A Million Random Digits" and the quintessentially Trail of Dead gallop of "The Doomsday Book" make things a little more distinctive. While the album's second half delivers the peaks and valleys more familiar to the band's sound, the overall effect is still somewhat muted. "The Dragonfly Queen" turns IX's midtempo churn into a strength, delivering dark, jangly pop that feels better suited to the album's emotions; later, "Bus Lines" provides a similar intimacy despite its substantial length. Lavish instrumentals like "How to Avoid Huge Ships" counterbalance the intensity of "Lost in the Grand Scheme," and while both sides are well executed, neither makes as much of an impact as it has in the past. It may not be ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead's most exciting album, but there are still enough bright moments here to keep fans engaged. ~ Heather Phares



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