The opening of “Wild Mountain Nation” is decidedly misleading. It’s a straightforward power chord, leading into what sounds like a tribute to a ’60s golden nugget. The next song,”Devil’s A-Go-Go” takes you a little farther down the same track, but hints of dischord and rhythmic stumbles take you out of pop and into experimental rock–and force the listener to take notice. Brilliantly, the album continues to deconstruct, even as it takes detours though facially straightforward twee like “Futures and Folly” (in which the lyrics compare “my love” to a “cloudless rain,” whatever that means).
Blitzen Trapper never seem to get tired of challenging the listener’s expectations, bouncing through all forms of retro rock: From Glam Pop (“Murder Babe”) to early Pink Floyd (“Woof and Warp”), from the garage psychedelics of Moby Grape (“Sci Fi Kid”) all the way to the oddball quirkiness of Beck (“The Green King Sings”), and even country rock (“Country Caravan”)! Who says pop music is boring?
I know they’ve gotten lots of attention on blogs recently, but this band deserves it. Unlike many flash-in-the-pan disappointments (The Hives, anyone?), Blitzen Trapper show resilliance, flexibility, and, yes, even brilliance.