Review Summary: Blitzen Trapper deliver another great folk-rock album that features several promising, ambitious songs.
The interesting stylistic shift between 2007's Wild Mountain Nation and the following year's Furr revealed Blitzen Trapper as a band willing to utilize and unite the many influences driving current indie-folk. Wild Mountain Nation is an excellent alt-country romp, and the band display a relatively unique talent for Gothic folk tales and stylistic diversity . Furr, on the other hand, is a study in folk-rock, with singer Eric Earley leaping from Bob Dylan to murder ballads to screaming psychedelic hurricanes. Basically, Blitzen Trapper have a history of retooling classic sounds and combining them into an messy, exciting orgy of sound.
Despite all of this, I don't know if I quite expected newest album Destroyer of the Void to start with a ***ing prog rock epic. The title-track opener begins with the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young harmonies that Blitzen Trapper utilized so well throughout Furr. Spacey synths announce 70's style guitar solos, and the song evolves into a drugged-out, psych folk "Bohemian Rhapsody" for a new generation. One would expect Blitzen Trapper to continue exploring this proggy, psychedelic style throughout Destroyer, but the two tracks immediately following the opener quickly counter this. Both "Laughing Lover" and "Below the Hurricane" sound like they could have been penned by early 70's Neil Young. Blitzen Trapper's well-developed folk rock instrumentation is displayed throughout, with acoustic guitar, harmonica, and church organ again forming the core of their sound.
Mid-album piano ballad "Heaven and Earth" and duet "The Tree" cause a change of pace at the mid-album mark, with Earley demonstrating both his impressive vocal and lyrical abilities with just a bar-room piano or acoustic guitar to back him. From there the album consists of more country-tinged guitar and piano, Furr-style songs. The album's greatest weakness is genuinely its consistency, and general refusal to deviate from the excellent formula that Furr and Wild Mountain Nation made so familiar. This would perhaps not even be considered a weakness if the title-track were any less promising and epic. As it is, Destroyer of the Void is another excellent stylistic experiment by Blitzen Trapper. The promise of something great still lies within the band, and their willingness to experiment and deviate will only lend itself to fulfilling this promise.