Thus begins this evening’s double duty workout, this 60 minute interval spin following by a swim workout to boot. Am I attacking 2017 or what? Anyway, I’m keeping with the theme I’ve started with these interval spins by working my way through the …And They Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead albums, this time the ‘Source Tags and Codes‘ album.
Released in 2002, ‘Source Tags…’ is the band’s third full length album, and the first recorded for Interscope records with major-label distribution. It is often cited by fans as being their best, although the band continues to deny this to this day, claiming that their best record is the one they’re currently working on (which ever that might be).
Personally, this sentiment surely held true in 2011 on their ‘Tao of the Dead‘ album.
That shit was killer.
This album however, is more intricate and reflective as well as gripping and raw, and more marks the band’s leap from the venerable indie imprint to major-label territory. It’s a seamless transition, mixing the sweeping, fearlessly anthemic qualities of their previous work with a newfound sheen that actually makes the music’s earnest roughness stand out more. Sculpted, gorgeous-yet-gritty melodies drive quintessentially AYWKUBTTOD epics like ‘Another Morning Stoner‘, ‘How Near, How Far‘, ‘Relative Ways‘, and the title track.
But this album isn’t so much a more accessible version of the band’s sound as it is a more streamlined one; the surging guitars on songs like ‘It Was There That I Saw You‘ are even more powerful for their economy. Yet the album’s more refined sound doesn’t prevent the group from expanding and experimenting – driven by a stomping rhythm and a raunchy riff, the dangerously sexy ‘Baudelaire‘ is the most straightforwardly “rawk” thing AYWKUBTTOD has done to date, while ‘Days of Being Wild‘ and ‘Homage‘ mix old-school hardcore with sullen, dreamlike passages. The band hasn’t forsaken its artiness, either, linking nearly every song with interludes of found sounds and adding strings, accordions, and other unique flourishes to the arrangements.
A driving, incredibly solid album, ‘Source Tags & Codes‘ proves just how much more the members of the band have to say – they’re just as combustible as they were on their debut, but now express themselves with a clarity that makes their intensity all the more breathtaking.
On to the pool…(or so I thought anyway).