Courtesy of Subpop Records
Blitzen Trapper – “Furr”
There is a time in every boy’s life when he considers himself a man. For most, this means filling out that first voter ballot, quoting ancient religious scriptures, or smashing that first beer can against the side of your face. (I should point out that, of the three, I was the most democratic one.)
But for Blitzen Trapper, this experience of maturation from an innocent boy to a more worldly man is captured to the sound of vibrant acoustics, improv harmonicas and immediate hooks in their latest song “Furr.”
In this song, which is also the title track from their latest album, the band’s storytelling and songwriting truly soar. The song tells a story that spans six years, one in which the narrator sees the world through multiple personas and multiple skins. During one particularly poignant stanza about his confused and rebellious youth, singer Eric Earley sees the world from the point of view of a wolf. He sings, “From the cliffs and highest hills, yeah / We would gladly get our fill / howling endlessly and shrilly at the dawn” – a moment that progresses both his lupin character and the song into adulthood.
“Furr” then dives into a poetic chorus, which feels both instrumentally controlled and tonally reckless, a trademark of their upcoming unique and beautiful sound. In their previous work, the 2006 underground-indie gem Wild Mountain Nation, the band felt explosive, inexperienced and overly busy. However, applying themselves to the theme of their songs, the band too has matured and the result feels much more focused and tight, evident in such songs as “Sleepytime in the Western World.”
Following similar harmonic-folk groups this year such as Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes, Blitzen Trapper uses duel-tracked vocals and uber-clean guitars to a stunningly beautiful effect. With influences clearly in Bob Dylan and Neil Young, the Portland, Ore. sextet belts out harmonica solos and banjo progressions easily and frequently. Their sound, however, is technically incredible, with vocal and instrumental arrangements that even a tonal perfectionist would approve of.
Blitzen Trapper’s latest effort, Furr, is due out Sept. 23. Check out the song “Furr,” and relive that time when you too were just a cub ready to become a wolf.
by Asst. Entertainment Editor Geoff Schorkopf