Review Summary: Lost Trails is a remarkably consistent and professional debut album from the Irish post-rockers.
After having what could be described as the perfect introduction to this band, I feel quite compelled to write this review. I was lucky enough to catch them live without having heard them before, actually ending up seeing them twice before picking up their album and giving it a good listen. It turns out that Butterfly Explosion aren't just a really impressive live band, because Lost Trails
perfectly represents that they're able to write quite a record, too.
After countless gigs with God Is An Astronaut, one of the members decided to sign them on to their own record label and produce their album - it's thanks to this I had an early exposure to them and an opportunity to hear them at their best. Luckily for all of us, their performance certain transcends to their debut effort too. The record is seeping with energy and decent songwriting, topped off with some top-notch playing and performances from every front of the band. It's a consistent release that doesn't really have a dip in quality anywhere, and where there are stand-out moments, they don't drown out the rest of the album.
Unless being signed to a record label owned by God Is An Astronaut wasn't enough of an indication, this is fairly typical post rock in its essence - but with some subtle additions throughout. For one, the vocals here are quite an enhancement to the experience. They are scattered throughout the album almost perfectly, mixing together both instrumental tracks and non-instrumental tracks to the point where both types of tracks seem to work together beautifully to make this the experience it is, instead of sounding somewhat disjointed. Both the instrumental and non-instrumental tracks are equally strong, showing that the band definitely have the capability of forging some really great tracks with whatever they come up with.
There are also some shoegaze-like elements to this album too, but they're not on the forefront of the record. They're there in the background, humming away with the various effects. None seem out of place, on the contrary - they compliment the sound very well. It makes every moment of this album seem a little fresher, and to me definitely shows that none of the ideas here are too stagnant.
Another aspect the band does really well is being able to forge some really great vocal and lead guitar melodies, creating an infectious and hypnotic experience. These are the types of melodies you'll be singing to yourself throughout your day, but with none of the annoyance and tedium that a lot of melodies like that can grace you with. One such moment is the melody half way through Automatic
, one of my favorite tracks. This track is an instrumental that carries itself really well. The album also has non-instrumentals that also carry themselves well too, constantly changing between the female and male clean vocals to create a wonderfully soothing overtone for the music. Crash ...See You On The Other Side
is one such track, that successfully merges both the impressive instrumentals and the vocals that admittedly could have been performed better, sometimes sounding a bit flat - but for what they are, suit the music very well and certainly don't take anything away from the song.
The whole album is packed with such moments, leaving no real blunders to be found. Though some of the songs sound a little bit too pop-oriented for me, like the track Insulate Dreams
, they are short lived and the meat of the album is the part I love; The well thought out and performed instrumentals with vocals that are in no way over-bearing in contrast to the beauty of everything else. Lost Trails
is a remarkably consistent and professional debut album from the Irish post-rockers, and for what it is, couldn't have been a lot better. Among the best debuts of 2010. I certainly hope it isn't too long before I get to see them again.