Destroyer of the VoidAlbum |
Portland sextet make the great leap forward.
Blitzen Trapper's Sub Pop debut Furr came across like yet another modern alt-folkie effort, triangulated somewhere between Bon Iver's rustic minimalism, Fleet Foxes' retro-groovy Laurel Canyon vibe and just a hint of Bonnie "Prince" Billy's fascination with country death songs. Good stuff, to be sure, but not necessarily at the top of its class. The more expansive Destroyer of the Void ups the ante considerably with the dazzling title track, a multi-part epic with a closing section deliberately reminiscent of "Bohemian Rhapsody." While the rest of the album is less grandiose, singer-songwriter Eric Earley has clearly been browsing through some vintage vinyl lately: crystalline acoustic guitars and sweet layered harmonies mesh with the sort of subtle but ear-grabbing touches that graced '70s pop classics like Hotel California, Rumours or Venus and Mars. More importantly, however, Earley's songwriting has taken a quantum leap with immediately appealing songs like the astonishingly catchy "Laughing Lover" and the affecting piano ballad "Heaven and Earth." Even songs that would have fit comfortably on Furr, like the acoustic murder ballad "The Man Who Would Speak True," feature more expansive settings than before. Blitzen Trapper have moved from promising newcomers to genuine talents.