Release Date: Jul 15, 2014
Record label: BanjoDad Records
Genre(s): Bluegrass, Country, Pop/Rock, Progressive Bluegrass, Indie Folk
On their seventh long-player, Duluth's acoustic troubadours Trampled by Turtles continue to push the outer limits of folk and bluegrass playing light against darkness, delivering one of their most thoughtful and downtempo albums to date. Produced by Low frontman Alan Sparhawk, the band's generally clean tones are cloaked here in a moody reverb that lends an ethereal dreaminess to tracks like "Silver Light" and "Ghosts," both of which are marked by the band's dense, harmonic vocal blend. The frenetic speed picking they are frequently known for only appears twice on the melodic pop-grass of "Come Back Home" and the fuzzy-edged "Western World.
Wild Animals is Trampled By Turtles’ seventh studio album, and it finds the group focusing on the quieter, folkier aspects of their sound. The production, courtesy of Low’s Alan Sparhawk, is crisp and clear, and lead singer Dave Simonett’s vocals show an impressive degree of vulnerability, something that fits nicely with the abundance of quiet songs on the album. Sadly, Simonett’s songwriting leaves a lot to be desired here, and the bulk of Wild Animals ends up sounding utterly nondescript.
Trampled By Turtles have wasted no time in following up last November’s big breakthrough Live At First Avenue with their seventh studio album Wild Animals, all the better to consolidate the growing attention they’ve garnered so far. Worthy contenders in an ever expanding Americana arena, this Duluth Minnesota quintet reflects a range of varied influences — Dylan, Townes, nu-grass, nu-folk and the like — but it’s singer Dave Simmonett’s hollow-eyed vocals that bring Neil Young’ most to mind. Yet, while the title track, “Silver Light” and “Lucy” follow that tack and cast a spell of sobriety, there’s plenty of spunk and spirit permeating these grooves as well.