Review Summary: Oh hey, another Blitzen Trapper album. Oh heyyyyy.
At this point it seems impossible to actually write a criticism of Blitzen Trapper. Now four albums into their career and they continue to turn out the same rootsy Americana rock that mines the tradition of the American music scene--incorporating everyone from the Allman Brothers to The Grateful Dead to Bob Dylan. American Goldwing
doesn’t change the pattern one bit, which creates a bit of a conundrum: Blitzen Trapper are really good at what they do, but at this point “what they do” is becoming tired. This is one of the few definitive criticisms I can lodge at the album; at this point it’s hard to imagine the band gaining new fans, or turning their existing fanbase against them. So the problem of American Goldwing is purely that of stasis. Just what exactly is the point of this thing anyways?
It’s sort of a shame really; as usual, when the band gets it right, they nail that shit on the fucking head. “Fletcher” is easily the strongest manifestation of what American Goldwing
is (or rather, what it wants
to be). The song is all open road beard waving. I’ve never been on a chopper, I’ve never had my grizzly face blowing in the golden sunset on California One with an American flag bandana, but goddammit “Fletcher” makes me think, nay, know
I have. It’s Easy Rider
in musical form, and it’s glorious. So basically the rest of American Goldwing
will result in you measuring a song’s worth on a scale of 1-10 Fletchers. When most of the time those numerical Fletchers are 5 and below, you start to see the problem with the album. Sure, Blitzen Trapper attempt to vary the formula a bit--there’s the jangly campfire number, or that one about astronauts--but when it comes right down to it, everything’s all the same. Ho hum. (oh wait, I guess that was easier than I first thought.)