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‘VII’ from Blitzen Trapper - hook-laden, infectious and always recognisable

(August 28, 2013)

Things come and go, change is the only certainty, then again the latest album from Blitzen Trapper ‘VII’ (their seventh) gives the lie to that assertion because nothing changes. Oh sure, these guys have VIIbeen through a few but since they settled on their brand of rocky-edged folk-country the spices may differ but the recipe remains untouched.  There’s still the hook-laden songs, the infectious melodies and the always recognisable vocals. That’s not to say that the matter-of-factly titled ‘VII’ is simply more of the same it’s yet another course in the ongoing feast that is Blitzen Trapper music.

The essential Blitzen Trapper essence remains – country-folk and Southern rock influences driving tough-as-leather narratives, precise pedal steel accents and keyboard cuts, howling harmonica, razor sharp guitar breaks, gutsy ‘whiskey-soaked’ vocals, From the low-down and dirty of ‘Feel The Chill’ through the mournful resignation and reflection on experience within "Ever Loved Once" to the deep-seated understanding of ‘Valley of Death’ this album serves up all you would expect and more. This will become a ‘permanent’ in my truck’s CD player because I could drive for miles and miles indulging in this album.

Sometimes, music creates soundscapes in your head. Images and scenes grow from the sounds to build a clear visual identity. These songs do just that. You can share every mile of the road, smell every bar and spend time with a diverse assortment of colourful characters. Listen to ‘Neck Tatts and Cadillacs’ or ‘Drive On Up’ to hear what I mean.

Blitzen Trapper are Eric Earley (vocals, guitar, harmonica, keyboard) Erik Menteer (guitar, keyboard) Brian Adrian Koch (drums, vocals, harmonica) Michael Van Pelt (bass) and Marty Marquis (guitar, keyboards, vocals, melodica).

‘VII’ releases on CD, vinyl LP and digital download on 30th September on Lojinx in the UK and Europe and on the 1st of October on Vagrant in North America.

Reviewer: Tom Franks

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