If Destroyer Of The Void, Blitzen Trapper’s fifth full-length album, is your first encounter with them, you will likely be intrigued by their uncanny homage to musical tradition and their inflection of strangeness within the seemingly familiar. A few listens will disarm you, and you’ll begin to recognize music you’ve never heard which, immersed as it is in musical tradition, is never simply derivative. Opener “Destroyer Of The Void” combines prog-rock and country, changing time and structure like Yes, Rushm or Genesis. Throughout the album there are vocal harmonies and chord changes evocative perhaps of The Beatles, Bob Dylan, or Simon And Garfunkel.

 

Cleverly though, this eclecticism of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s is fused in such a way that you know it is Blitzen Trapper and, beyond the sonic similarities to the musical past, their singularity is present. Historical comparison proves a small part of a record which deals, as its title implies, with enormity. Sixth track, “Heaven and Earth,” in which melody and lyricism unite, exemplifies the record’s recurrent themes of nature, depth, size, height, space, and place: “There is a love that sleeps inside the canyons of our deepest dreaming lives/ A shelter that cannot be lost/ A name that is so deep and so far across/ I know you there, do you know me?/ Your life is like a bolt of lightning seen across the sky so high and clean.”

Listen to “Heaven And Earth”DOWNLOAD MP3

Any musical familiarity is artfully offset by peculiar lyrics set in strange narratives. The catchiness of “The Tailor” carries you through a fantastical setting not amiss within the pages of an Angela Carter novel or a Brothers Grimm tale. During “Dragon’s Song,” listeners journey into a world of “the crack of guns” and “running suns,” complete with surreal guitar solo. Some songs here have been on journeys of their own, such as “Sadie,” a song years in the making. With the melody of its refrain, “I can never change,” over a bittersweet piano, you are glad the time was taken.

Time and Blitzen Trapper seem deeply connected. Indeed, if you identify with any rock music from the last fifty years, but also seek something fresh, then you will be enamoured with this band. This record is an admirable achievement which inspires respect because, rather than being an intrusion upon the beloved musical pantheon, Blitzen Trapper offer a reverent fusion of their loves and influences into something simultaneously contemporary yet ageless, elusive, and enduring. True to its title, Destroyer Of The Void leaves no room for emptiness, crafting only fullness of sound.

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