...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead So Divided

...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead So Divided
You’ve got to hand it to Conrad Keely and company — they sure can pick their titles. Their last effort Worlds Apart perfectly predicted the gulf between the people that loved the overblown parade and those that thought it was, well, an overblown parade. Indeed, the press package accompanying this very disc never mentions the last effort at all. And, with So Divided, Keely’s done it again, as people will still be scratching their heads on which side of the fence they should sit on. Some will delight in the fact that the pretentiousness of Worlds Apart is toned down to a mere simmer, but others will still mourn the lack of danger and intensity that made Source Tags & Codes a mini-masterpiece. Here, Keely goes for vibrancy and clarity over anything else, giving the songs another angle not fully explored by Trail of Dead. "Naked Sun” blows things up with brass and a beautiful, orchestral climax that subtly impresses, and the end of the massive closer, "Sunken Dreams,” even employs a choir amongst its crashing cymbals and Keely’s howl. Okay, so maybe they’re still going for the bleachers, but there’s also a lovely humble quality that works its way throughout the album. Keely’s working for our acceptance, and, on this effort, it actually works like a charm. (Interscope)