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Austin City Rockers

And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
(Trance Syndicate)

I'll have to admit that like a lot of other people, I was originally interested in this group simply because of their name. I remember reading a little bit about their supposedly rippin' performance at last years SXSW music conference and reading several articles where critics simply seemed to mention them so they could write down their name in an article. Finally, about a year after the release of their disc, I got ahold of it and got to see what all the fuss was about.

Even listening to the group, there's no denying that they have some seriously infectious energy. They take off with the song "Richter Scale Madness" and keep on building it until it's a frenzy by the end. On the second track, they show off their dynamics a little more with the soft/loud of "Novena Without Faith." It moves along with whispered vocals for quite some time before dropping into a nice, loud chorus. It goes through this routine a couple more times before ending with a great stretch of instrumentation. Musically, I'd put them somewhere on the map between a group like Mogwai and several different emo bands I've heard like Jimmy Eat World, Race Car Riot, etc. They have vocals in every song, but their tracks aren't always the straightest path from point A to B. The tracks actually work better when they're longer on the disc, giving the band more time to stretch out moments of instrumentation and build up things even more. "Gargoyle Waiting," is just such an example, taking nearly half of its 7 minutes before really breaking out.

There are a couple tracks on the disc that don't really do much, but overall it's a pretty solid debut album from the group with the long, interesting name. If their live show really is as great as I've heard and they put out another solid album, expect people to start knowing them more for what they sound like than a fun tagline.

Rating: 7.25