Album Review: Trails – “Crooked Trees”
If you want to grab your listener from the start, stick a song as fresh, exciting and god damn exhilarating as Where We’re Going We Don’t Need Roads at the front of your album. Ten seconds of jangly guitar gives way to a throat ruining scream and a cacophony of guitars that lead into a verse with a hook so big it threatens to rip your brain out through your nose, ancient Egyptian mummy style. A manic verse and huge chorus make Where We’re Going… one of the best album openers of the year.
Lead singer Sam Hopper has a brilliant scream on him and it gets put to good use throughout Crooked Trees, not least on Echoes In Eternity which flits between said scream and a fantastic melody. With it’s big hooks married to juddering rhythms, Capgras Delusion has shades of much missed Washington hardcore types Kane Hodder, and Captain Hindsight is a comparatively straightforward song amongst the oddness that surrounds it, earworms abound throughout this almost punk pop few minutes.
The Thundercat name checking Panthro takes the band into prog territory, the vocal introduction reminiscent of some the less odd moments from seminal 70’s proggers Gentle Giant, with more than a smattering of Queen thrown in. It’s the standout track on the album by a mile, stuffing a hundred ideas into it’s four minute run-time, from screamy hardcore blasts to prog riffs, it’s possibly a sign of things to come, and it would be a welcome one. The prog side of things is expanded upon on the epic Mars Volta-esque Export Design | Import Creation, which showcases the bands gentler side.
Trails seem to be a hardcore punk band at heart, but they've thrown so many influences in to Crooked Trees they could go literally anywhere with their next album, and that makes them exciting, which is what bands should be. Check this band out, they're seriously good.