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. . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead

With EQU and Forget Cassettes. Tuesday, October 26, at the Grog Shop.

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In concert, . . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead smothers its songs with dissonance before cremating the compositions in an instrument-annihilating ritual. Lost in those cresting-and-crashing waves of velocity and volume is the fact that this guitar-smashing group writes better hooks than just about anyone in its genre. Under its lavishly textured sonic layers, 2002's Source Tag and Codes was so catchy, it was commanding, as authoritatively engaging as a U2 album.

"Worlds Apart," the first single from the band's impending full-length follow-up to Codes, makes noisy indie rock even more accessible. Its less-than-lacerating lines about celebrity culture don't even improve on Good Charlotte's lavish-lifestyles lament, but once the chorus kicks in, all is forgiven.

"Worlds Apart," like 2003's Secret of Elena's Tomb EP, suggests that Trail of Dead might be trading its chaotic crescendos for steady-building melodic momentum. Its incremental approach replaces the jarring jolt of sudden time-signature switches. Instead, the band cultivates anticipation before turning every chorus into a cathartic harvest. It will always have a soft spot for atonal hardcore blasts and superfluous samples ("Worlds" pads its running time with bird chirps and kid giggles), but emphatic rockers now anchor its albums.

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