For the first time, Trampled By Turtles, stepped outside their comfort zone and spent more than a couple of days recording an album. They brought in Alan Sparhawk of Low to handle the knobs and hit the record button. And while I am not a Low fanatic like some, their ability to meticulously craft beauty rubs off on their fellow Duluth band.
Trampled By Turtles hooked me with their frenetic jams; feeling as if they were lifting you to another realm. With Stars and Satellites and even more with Wild Animals, the quintet continues to refine their craftsmanship. Wild Animals is their slowest album to date, haunting in parts; but still leaves you feeling emotionally drained by its end. Lead singer Dave Simonett’s voice effortlessly blends with the strings throughout as opposed to fighting for its own space. That’s not to say that when the boys release the hand-brake with Come Back Home, it isn’t everything you love about this band. It is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser.
But while I hope the boys move back towards their up-tempo fare in the future albums, this was the album they needed to make now. And hell, it might even be their best but that’s like asking me to pick my favorite kid. It’s Hank this week, by the way. Simonett had this to say, We all tried to come into this thing extremely open-minded. How can we sound new to ourselves? I feel like the sound has changed and is changing, especially from Palomino to now. A lot of our reputation from even just a couple years ago was that we were this fast band, which we can do, and we do that. But this record focused a little bit more on other aspects of our playing together.”
Wild Animals opens up like Stars and Satellites, like an animal just peering out of its cage. While Midnight On The Interstate was achingly beautiful in its sparse nature (I just listened to it as I wrote this and still got goosebumps); the title track is a haunting number where Ryan Young’s fiddle creeps up and down your spine.
Are You Behind The Shining Star? has many of the same qualities that made Alone such a striking track. Nobody Knows has a back-porch sing-along feel to it. You can see that kicking towards the end of a set with some crowd participation. And the album closes with a tender track called Winners, reminding you of Palomino’s ending track – Again.
But as much as myself or anybody else writes about this album, the only way to judge TBT is by their live show. It has blossomed into a fervent, communal affair with fans singing every word.
Our full session is here
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Trampled By Turtles is here