On a Lake of Dead Trees +2


The idea of re-releasing an album from an unknown band that’s only five years old is a strange concept to me. Surely there have to be other, more timely and viable uses of a slot in a record label’s catalog. Ascetic Records disagrees with me, and their edition of Traindodge’s On a Lake of Dead Trees is almost enough to grant an exception.

Norman, Oklahoma’s Traindodge comes straight from the same school of Midwest indie rock/hardcore I was introduced to in my undergraduate years at Michigan State. It’s the type of rock music that toes many lines without ever really becoming fully entrenched in one specific camp. There are shades of math rock, metal, hardcore, and dance- and post-punk throughout this sub-genre and this album, originally recorded in 2002, acts as a fine primer. Since this music is already past its glory days, a simple cross-section for nostalgia’s sake would be sufficient. Unfortunately, this disc clocks in at over 70 minutes and while the group shuffles their songwriting dynamics around frequently, there’s only a limited number of combinations available from the sludgy riffing, half-time breakdowns and manic assaults in these guys’ arrangement schematics. This just means it’s safe to say that if you like one song from this era in Traindodge’s career, you’ll like them all; and if you don’t… The only uncharacteristic offering the band serves up is “Brass-eyed,” which drops some inexplicable acoustic folk-rock strumming in the midst of a thunderous build-up, only to re-introduce the distorted guitars along with a bizarre, monotone computer voice reciting the lyrics. It’s an interesting aside the band would explore more fully on their subsequent albums. It’s hardly essential, but if a jones for turn-of-the-century indie rock has inexplicably got you in emo throes, a couple tracks from this album should put that beast to rest for a couple more years.

Ascetic Records:

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