Blitzen Trapper : Wild Mountain Nation

<img src="" alt=" " />The backwoods of Oregon bring out the relaxed freak-folk of Blitzen Trapper on their latest, <i>Wild Mountain Nation</i>. ...
7.7 Lidkecrow

 The backwoods of Oregon bring out the relaxed freak-folk of Blitzen Trapper on their latest, Wild Mountain Nation. The Portland-based band mixes lo-fi indie-rock with the kind of backwoods hippie-folk you might find at a jam festival, along with a healthy amount of seventies guitar-rock party and funk, and even some neo-late Beatles.  While Wild Mountain Nation sometimes gets too involved in itself for its own good, it’s a strong showing from the great northwest.

Opening with “Devil’s A-Go-Go”, Blitzen Trapper stake their claim with some jangle-rock, but there’s some funk in that doobie.  The title track and single that follows perhaps best sums up the band and the record, country-rock catch meets backwoods knowing.  Despite their label as ‘experimental folk’, Trapper definitely shows ability with the hook, on “Wild Mountain Nation” and the fuzzy-fun “Sci-Fi Kid”.

There’s also a laid-back element on Nation, like with the bright “Futures & Folly”.  Near Beatles inflections mark the melodic “The Green King Sings”, though there are perhaps too many tempo changes.  Following “Green”, Trapper changes things up with the sweet “Summer Town”.  But the strongest relaxed piece is the penultimate “Country Caravan”, a slower world-wise hippie-backwoods-folk.

Throughout Nation, different styles get added into the mix.  Distortion and funk pepper “Miss Spiritual Tramp”, while the funk-folk explosion of “Murder Babe” has an old school guitar-rock party.  There’s a driving fun to the instrumental “Woof & Warp of the Quiet Giant’s Hem”, and nowhere is Trapper more backwoods than on “Wild Mtn. Jam”.  Sometimes, the band can go a bit overboard, such as with the relatively mediocre spooky folk-grind “Hot Tip/Tough Club” or the sad lo-fi stop/start “Badger’s Black Brigade” at the end.

There’s a natural appeal to the kind of backwoods sound Blitzen Trapper sports on Wild Mountain Nation, but freak-folk can be done wrong, taking the excuse to just throw ‘whatever’ into the mix.  However, the Portland sextet play it pretty well on their latest, not letting their ingredients get away from them.

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