Blitzen Trapper album shows good effort, but nothing solid

Highly praised folk rock band Blitzen Trapper has returned with their sixth studio album, “Destroyer of the Void,” just in time for a summer tour of more than 30 dates.

It has only been a year since they released “Black River Killer EP,” and perhaps they should’ve waited a little longer to improve their new material.

The band gets things going with the title track, which begins with a guitar riff that lightly resembles that in the intro of The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun,” but with a folkier tinge. Unusually frequent tempo changes make intrigued listeners want to play the track twice.

“Laughing Lover” kicks off with a cheery, Christmassy guitar melody. In fact, the whole track has a bright, holiday spirit sort of mood to it.

Absolutely magnificent, breathy background vocals are featured on “Below the Hurricane.” The song’s middle section is closed out with a harmonica, of which fans will wish there was more of on this track.

Good thing the next song, “The Man Who Would Speak True,” is introduced with more harmonica. Characteristically, the whole song brings to mind just about any purely acoustic Bob Dylan song with a solemn tone.

Blitzen Trapper gets back to an electric feel on “Love and Hate,” adding a hint of vengeful blues. High keyboard notes add a pleasant variation from the plugged-in sound.

The band utilizes the strength of their keyboardist on “Heaven and Earth” by seating him at a piano instead. They’ve recreated the mood of a Billy Joel ballad, and what good American doesn’t love that? The violin makes a welcome appearance on this track as well.

Anyone who judges by the title and predismisses “Dragon’s Song” as a jam for science fiction geeks is too quick to judge. While it doesn’t live up to the prestige of “Puff the Magic Dragon,” the song holds its own and finally gives drummer Brian Koch some spotlight.

From the first second of audio, “The Tree” couldn’t possibly scream ‘Peter, Paul and Mary’ any louder. The female vocals sound like the spirit of Mary Travers is singing, and beautifully so.

Bass player Michael VanPelt shines on “Evening Star.” The vocals during the chorus are a little irritating, though.

Busy keyboards drive the upbeat melody of “Lover Leave Me Drowning,” along with a wailing guitar solo and more violin near the end of the song.

“The Tailor” is a quick acoustic beat that is accompanied by a happy tambourine. The lyrics tell a decent story too.

The band wraps up with “Sadie,” a love song played on the piano. It’s too bad fans have to wait until the end of the album for the standout track.

Oddly enough, it feels that each song has a recognizable cliché movie setting to which a listener could easily pair with any of the tunes.

Anyhow, Blitzen Trapper made a pretty solid effort on “Destroyer of the Void,” but it’s not quite a summer essential.

Reach Lenni at lenni.rosenblum@asu.edu


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