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. . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead: Worlds Apart

. . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead: Worlds Apart

Release Date:2005

By J. Bowers | Posted 2/9/2005

It’s been two years and change since . . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead made its Interscope debut with Source Tags and Codes, a dense, complex effort that revealed the art-punk band’s infatuation with droning guitars and epic climaxes. A concept album sans concept, Worlds Apart finds the Texas quartet amping up its already formidable ambition with a diverse song cycle that features horns, strings, children, Bowie-esque gospel choirs, and that psychedelic-’60s standby—farm-animal noises. Fear not. Despite the proggy window dressing, ToD still knows how to rock, and main singer/guitarist Conrad Keely has traded Tags’ murky vocals for arrangements that place his woozy voice front and center. Lead track “Overture” features a choir chanting “Isis, Horus, Ra” ad infinitum, until a creepy female voice announces the band’s name and disappears under churning guitars and pounding drums. “Will You Smile Again for Me” is a tribal stomp that collapses in a whirlwind of horns, strings, and guitars. First single “Worlds Apart” is half Irish drinking song, half Ted Leo classic, with Keely name-checking MTV’s Cribs, the Twin Towers, and the American Dream before announcing, “Fuck these days/ we don’t know who to hate and who to praise.” Segues include a few bizarre and decidedly un-ToD sounding tracks, such as the stuttering “The Best” and “Russia My Homeland,” a jaunty waltz. (Yes, waltz.) But the oceanic drone of “Let It Dive” is as irresistible as any shoegaze classic, and “And the Rest Will Follow” and “Classic Art Showcase” are arena-worthy anthems, complete with martial drums, choirs, and shout-along choruses. ToD has redefined “grandiose” with this one.

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