Blitzen Trapper comforts us with Destroyer of the Void

Familiarity breeds comfort. The past breeds familiarity. Even if we have trouble living in the moment, forgetting to appreciate the minutiae of what’s before our eyes, we look back fondly on what “used to be”. It may have even been the most tumultuous time of our life, but we yearn for something we think we used to have. Nostalgia and sentimentality are difficult emotions to deal with: they provide a certain comfort and help us remember the good, but oftentimes they take away from our present and future. Why can’t life be the way it used to be, we ask ourselves? Is it possible to have those feelings now? Blitzen Trapper says “yes”. On Destroyer of the Void, they’ve made an album that speaks to our memories of the past and provides us with the necessary push to move on.

Blitzen Trapper’s previous albums have been of the pleasant folk/rock variety. But never have they been so focused on standout vocals, layered harmonies, and consistent flow from song to song. On this record, the band members have an acute sense of coherence – the instruments and vocals share the same goal. There’s a distinct, focused direction, in which the strings anticipate the sound of the keys, which anticipate the sound of the guitars, which anticipate the vocals. All set to soft percussion that at times plays a bigger role but never oversteps its bounds. My point is, everything knows its place. Blitzen Trapper’s sounds work as a true team on Destroyer of the Void.

It’s bold to begin such a soft and focused record with a six-minute long first track, but that’s exactly what Blitzen Trapper does. And guess what? It works. Starting with dissonant harmonies and raspy tones, reminiscent of good ol’ 60s pop, “Destroyer of the Void” (talking about the first track now) turns itself into the defining song on the album. Those six minutes are, to me, what the album would sound like if shaved down to just one track. The eerie transition at about 3:00 until 3:40 (from the soft harmonies to the more electric, staggered rock, which then works its way back around to the sound at the start) is Blitzen Trapper telling us “Hey, this is what we’re doing. We are aware of our talent, we are showing it to you with this song, so stick along for the ride, won’t you?”

And we should, because the next 40 minutes will make us feel at ease and give us an identity. Their familiarity and hushed “you can do this” attitude bring us back to places of comfort. We can reach back to the man or woman we want or expect ourselves to be now. With Destroyer of the Void we can be what we’ve always wanted. Time doesn’t matter anymore.

Blitzen Trapper – “Heaven and Earth” [MP3]

Blitzen Trapper – “Love and Hate” [MP3]

Purchase Destroyer of the Void

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