Worlds Apart: An Instant Classic
By
Chuck Hestand
5/9/2005 6:29:30 PM

Worlds Apart [Interscope Records] is the third full-length release from the Austin, Texas-based band, …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, and the title could hardly be more fitting. While traces remain of the band that released the noisy, chaotic Source Tags and Codes in 2002, it seems a remarkable rebirth has occurred. Worlds Apart is the work of a much-matured, seasoned band—a band perhaps five or six albums into their career, rather than the three (well, technically 3 ½ counting 2003’s The Secret of Elena’s Tomb EP). This makes the experience of listening to this ambitious album for the first time all the more breathtaking.

The first two tracks serve as a dramatic one-two punch that sets the pace for the rest of the album. “Ode to Isis” is an operatic intro that establishes the perfect amount of suspense for the explosive beginning of “Will You Smile Again?,” a seven-minute roller coaster ride of such perfectly realized tension and release you’ll be convinced that the remainder of the album must surely go downhill from here.

The rest of the album, however, is as full of surprises as the first two tracks. The piano-driven “Summer of ’91,” the Bowie-esque “All White” (complete with gospel-choir backing vocals), and the anthemic “Let it Dive” contrast beautifully with the trademark Trail of Dead bombast of “Caterwaul,” “A Classic Arts Showcase,” and “The Rest Will Follow.” There’s even a string quartet piece featuring the solo violin of Hillary Hahn (“To Russia, My Homeland”). As if all this wasn’t enough, the album closes as powerfully as it began with the emotionally jarring “The Best” and the upbeat “The Lost City of Refuge”.

All in all, with this album …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead have outdone themselves, as well as most of their contemporaries. And instant classic.

 

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