“Feel the Chill,” the first song on Blitzen Trapper’s latest, 2013’s succinctly titled VII, finds the Portland, Ore., outfit in new territory — it sounds like Kid Rock doing Mellow Gold-era Beck covers, its funky beats, harmonica flourishes and Southern-fried guitar lines almost enough to inspire dance-floor movement.
“We definitely wanted to do something that had good, danceable beats,” frontman Eric Earley told Rolling Stone. “Something that was good to drive to. It’s definitely a groovier album than we’ve ever made. Blitzen Trapper goes in a lot of directions, but sometimes we don’t follow a direction. We’ll touch on it and move on.”
“Shine On” is another foot-stomper, complete with spirited female backing vocals, a catchy keyboard riff and more down-home guitar and harmonica. The wistful “Thirsty Man” is a lament about the one who got away: “I let you slip away like water right through my hands/Oh baby your love is like rain in a desert to a thirsty man.” The song culminates in an unexpectedly psychedelic jam, as if The Doors decided to give Folk Rock a try.
Oddest of all is “Neck Tatts, Cadillacs,” which sounds like DJ Shadow on moonshine — a stuttering, incessant beat anchors a song that features a rollicking banjo riff and a sample of what sounds like an air-raid siren. This is Blizten Trapper gone sonically gonzo.
BLITZEN TRAPPER plays Southgate House Revival on Monday, June 2. Tickets/more info here .