Many Strong Starts On a Solid, Yet Confused Album
…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead have come out with three different incarnations of the same album. Lost Songs offers twelve jarring, swirling songs, while its vinyl version tacks on two more after that. The deluxe sees those two extra songs as well as a more standalone second disk with each song fading into another. The move is a smart one. The frenetic tracks that make up the twelve-song core of Lost Songs feel only half-formed when played as simple singles.
Throughout the album, Trail of Dead swap the epic suites and drawn out songs they’d recently toyed with for an attempt at straight-through punk songs. They’re abrasive and sometimes oddly meandering, almost aimless in nature. It’s an odd contrast to Lost Songs‘ subject matter of serious issues handled with a punk sentiment. As Trail of Dead attempts to reclaim their roots, their message gets buried in confusion on a surprisingly small scale. They’re almost stuck unable to see the forest from the trees and at times, vice versa.
Popping in the second disk of the deluxe edition quickly amends that. Cohesion comes with each song strung together through fade outs; small touches that make for a mostly solid standalone album. When paired with “Up to Infinity,” the dreamy, beach-soaked punk of “Pinhole Cameras” is taken to brand new heights. The eponymous “Lost Songs” is fiercely driving and probably the closest thing the album’s got to a single. Despite most of the songs resting at around four and a half minutes, many are plagued with dull intros that feel far longer than their actual handful of measures. Lost Songs runs out the gate with pounding drums, swirling guitars, and some surprisingly apt handclaps that make for a pretty bitchin’ chorus. It’s almost everything you want out that’s missing from the rest of the album. Trail of Dead will get the right balance yet.