A band playing it safe. A band paying some dues. As if...

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...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead : Leeds Metropolitan University

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…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead : Leeds Metropolitan University

Meet the new, major label-friendly [a]And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead[/a]. Meet a band who’ve decided to leave their destructive, chaotic past behind them – a band who know it takes more than a bit of live guitar mangling to sell records. A band playing it safe. A band paying some dues.

As [I]if[/I]. We’re only one song in and shrieking singer-guitarist-drummer Jason Reece is soaring high above the heads of the crowd, microphone held aloft like an Olympic torch. Before ‘Homage’ reaches its first chorus, he’s hauling himself out of the fray by his mic lead and hurtling back in for more.

Once, when the atonal screech of [a]Sonic Youth[/a] were the band’s closest antecedent, you occasionally got the impression that the music was

almost incidental: a nifty soundtrack to some gleeful equipment destruction.

But with Conrad Keely at the helm, the chiming ‘Another Morning Stoner’ and the somersaulting ‘Baudelaire’ sound immense. Sure, ‘A Perfect Teenhood’ is little more than Freudian roar, but there’s plenty to look at: Neil Busch windmilling, Townshend-style at his bass, Keely climbing the crash barrier as fans ruffle his sweaty fringe. The drumkit is ceremonially trashed at the end of a steely ‘Totally Natural’. It’s enough. There will be no encore.

Louis Pattison