'Lost Songs' isn't subtle but when it works, it’s truly admirable
…Trail Of Dead peaked in 2002 with their raucous and righteous third album ‘Source Tags & Codes’. But success messed them up, and sent the Austin dudes into a creative tailspin. For a decade their vigour was gone. So when frontman Conrad Keely introduced their eighth album by dedicating lead single ‘Up To Infinity’ (about the Syrian civil war) to imprisoned punks Pussy Riot, it felt quite FUCK YEAH. It ain’t subtle – “A mother screams, a child answers/Her flesh is ripped apart and dashed upon the flagstones” – but then none of ‘Lost Songs’ is. The wall of icy guitars on opener ‘Open Doors’ is decorated by Keely’s nasal shout, and ‘Bright Young Things’ is three-and-a-half minutes of thrash. It doesn’t always work, and the softer ‘Awestruck’ is kinda preachy. But when the vitriol is squeezed into Fugazi-via-My Bloody Valentine-via-Sonic Youth swagger, as on the mighty ‘Catatonic’, it’s admirable.