Blitzen Trapper, 'American Goldwing' (Sub Pop)

7
American Goldwing
Critical Mass
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Label: Sub Pop

by Jon Young

Blitzen Trapper's Eric Earley performs the amazing feat of making alt-country seem fresh on the band's gripping sixth album. This Portland, Oregon quintet has long excelled at energizing rootsy sounds with trashy noise, but Earley's true trump card is smart, vivid songwriting that transcends genres. His hangdog croon aside, the melancholy "Love the Way You Walk Away" could be repurposed as either teen melodrama or a grown-up torch lament, while the touching "Astronaut," an intriguing fusion of down-home shuffle and cheesy grandeur, might make Elton John jealous.

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