Blitzen Trapper

Furr [Digipak]

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Released in 2007, Wild Mountain Nation, Blitzen Trapper's third collection of misty, lo-fi, Americana-infused art pop, drew critical acclaim as fast as it switched keys, setting the eclectic Pacific Northwest outfit up for a possible breakthrough with its impending follow-up. One of the many benefits of having your own recording studio (no matter how grand or rickety) is the ability to churn out an album whenever you feel like it, which is why 2008's Furr is so remarkable. The 21st century indie rock D.I.Y. method of record production has a tendency to hold speed and cost over sound quality, but Blitzen Trapper's first release for Sub Pop doesn't just improve upon the promise of WMN, it expands its sonic horizons as well, narrowing the mixtape glee that fueled its predecessor with just enough maturity to lend it considerable weight -- the title track alone, an instantly memorable tale of a boy raised by wolves, seduced by a girl, then returned to the wild, feels timeless in a way few modern songs ever achieve. Fans who were drawn in by the group's manic Of Montreal-meets-Grateful Dead backwoods effusiveness will rally around leadoff tracks "Sleepytime in the Western World" and "Gold for Bread," both of which mine familiar Blitzen Trapper pop territory, but it's the late-'60s/early-'70s sundown vibe of artists like Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (especially the latter's experimental Symphonion Dream album) that the majority of these new songs bask in. ~ James Christopher Monger, Rovi