Track: Summer of All Dead Souls
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Artist: ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
Album: Tao of the Dead
(Superball Music, 7 Feb 11) [ We7
, art rock
, my gang rotw
Video: Click the pic... YouTube, audio upload
I think the Trail of Dead boys have given us the best album of their career. As much loved and wroughtly worked previous albums were, this one, which was pulled together in next to no time, has all the magic.
For me, the magic peaks in this single, Summer of All Dead Souls
, originally released last November.
It's upbeat, fast and loud. Fuzzy proggy guitars and relentless drums nod to their heroes Pink Floyd
and take it from there. Unlike the melodically meandering, slow building tracks the band has become known for, "Summer of All Dead Souls" gets straight to the point with rolling drums, a driving bass lick, and big electric guitar that shifts from hard staccato strums to riffs with an outer-space effect. Its lyrics are about the global economic situation and "the haves and the have-nots," says Keely. "[It's] inspired by a documentary I saw about China, or, as they're calling it these days, Chimerica. It illustrated the ongoing struggle between the third world and the first world."
"The dead souls will pull you down," Keely and multi-instrumentalist Jason Reece, the band's founders, scream on the track. "Will pull you down!!!" (Spin)
Instead of the usual six in the line up, the band pared down to just four; and instead of labouring over each composition, they completed the entire project in just ten days, working with Chris "Frenchie" Smith (behind their 1998 debut) and Chris Coady (Beach House
, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
'Tao Of The Dead' is their first concept album, falling in two parts and in two keys. The first is in D, the second in F. The first comprises of eleven tracks, the second is one track of six movements. They wanted to recreate the experience of listening to earlier albums on vinyl where there's no break between tracks and music flows from one song to the next.
There are passing references to their loves Pink Floyd, especially Dark Side of the Moon
and Close to the Edge
. They still want to shout but the youngsters with a point to make are long gone. As artists, they have matured over the course of their seventeen year career without losing sight of where they started. So what we have is a near perfect album that comes entirely from gut instinct and solid experience.
For me, there is a lot of beauty in the sixteen minute second part, culminating in 'Strange Epiphany' which comes in around the 11 minute mark. Like 'Summer Of All Dead Souls', it's fast and loud but to a lesser degree, mirroring and acting like a shadow of the big track.
Despite the fact the album was pulled together in less than a fortnight, it's rich in detail. There are noodles to space out to and bubbles of density that go by too fast. On repeat just isn't enough. This album is going to take time to get to know.
The artwork began in frontman Conrad Keely's childhood too. The Tao of the Dead's CD booklet will feature the first 16 panels of his upcoming graphic novel. "It will hopefully be out shortly after the album. Some of it ties into the record. It's a science fiction story that's set in a steampunk milieu, aesthetically, and involves flying ships. It's an introduction to the world that I've been working on since I was a kid. I've been developing a novel around it, too, but that is going to take years of development."
The name, Tao of the Dead, is taken from the classic Chinese text, Tao Te Ching
. Tao means 'way', so the album title would loosely translate as "The Way of the Dead".
Further reading:Spin - interviewOfficial siteBBC review
- My GangReco of the Week archivesMy Gang Reco of The Week Disclaimer: MinesAdmin: Stats as of today:
Last.fm listeners of this track - 2,379
No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 6,118
Position in Last 7 Days: 1 / 1,811
Position in Last 6 Months: 84 / 647
Date Added: December 17, 2010
Views: 9,898, Comments: 26, Likes: 55, Dislikes: 0
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Last.fm listeners of this track - 6,218
No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 15,661
Position in Last 7 Days: 2 / 3,694
Position in Last 6 Months: 84 / 647
Views: 14,918, Comments: 27, Likes: 64, Dislikes: 5
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