Music » Livewire

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

With the Sword and the Black. Tuesday, April 19, at the Grog Shop.

by

comment
3267.0.jpeg
It is, without exception, bad form for a group to sing derisively about MTV on a single that will actually find its way onto the network's rotation. This is something you'd expect from Jay-Z or late-period Duran Duran, not from Austin's Trail of Dead, kings of the volume-crackling mayhem and violent instrument smashings. Sure, the title track to the band's latest, Worlds Apart, is catchy as hell, but it's a toothless pop piece disguised as an Irish drinking ditty.

This after 2002's magnificent Source Tags and Codes, a piece of Dirty-era Sonic Youth with better hooks and more coming-of-age angst. Worlds Apart actually improves on that formula at the outset with "Would You Smile Again for Me," an ominous, multilayered joyride that in the end is nothing but a tease for what might have been. Because after that, primary frontman Conrad Keely and his buddies start to really take this "major-label sellout" idea seriously. To be sure, Keely has progressed as a song craftsman on piano-and-strings-laden pieces like "Summer '91," but the Trail of Dead has never been about strings and songs. What they are is a ball of unpredictable, crackling energy whose pop proclivities only accent that, not emasculate it and render it docile as the family pet.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.