Blitzen Trapper VII

Blitzen Trapper VII
4
There are only brief moments throughout VII (the seventh full-length from experimental folkers Blitzen Trapper) that evoke the brilliance of their past records, particularly 2007's Wild Mountain Nation. On VII, Blitzen Trapper are still toying with their direction, the only difference being that they're not swinging for the fences. There's palpable restraint audible on an album that is, for the most part, muted and tepid. Folk with banjos may now be spoken about largely in jest, but if nothing else, there's no lack of gusto in Blitzen Trapper's peers. Yet VII falls flat as it attempts to integrate a variety of genres and directions, sacrificing their earnest, bombastic nature. "Valley of Death" contains some of Eric Earley's most vivid imagery, hinting at emotional turmoil deep within the frontman. Yet the track moves awkwardly, stumbling over pedestrian beats that carry little resonance. Tracks such as "Shine On" are enticing enough, but fall short of the all-out cathartic outpouring that's clearly possible. There's great, unlimited possibility somewhere within VII; Eric Earley can still pen a catchy enough riff. In attempting to stretch his band's sound and appeal to a wider audience though, he's lost touch with their original intentions. (Vagrant)