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Review: Trampled By Turtles, “Wild Animals”

No Comments 6 July 2014

Review: Trampled By Turtles, “Wild Animals”

“The notes seem to hang in the air with an exquisite type of length and weight, without adding heaviness to the songs. All of the players here are in tune with each other and with the intention of each song. The result is an elegant, emotional, dangerously good album that finds Trampled by Turtles at the top of their game.”

Artist: Trampled By Turtles

Album: Wild Animals

Genre: Bluegrass / Americana

RIYL: Old Crow Medicine Show, Band of Horses, The Apache Relay, Split Lip Rayfield

Trampled By Turtles - Wild Animals

In my estimation, Trampled by Turtles has done things very right since the start of their career together as a band a decade ago. Their current fanbase was largely built by word-of-mouth through relentless touring, consistent engagement and an ability to hone in on the bluegrass-with-a-twist uniqueness of their overall sound. Even after all this time, however, the release of Wild Animals finds a band barreling full throttle into their own.

The band consists of Dave Simonett (guitar, vocals), Tim Saxhaug (bass, vocals), Dave Carroll (banjo, vocals), Erik Berry (mandolin) and Ryan Young (fiddle). And it’s fair to say that they had a lot to live up to after the release of both Billboard chart-ruling Palomino (2010) and the wonderfully crafted Stars and Satellites (2012). Trampled by Turtles has found success among the bluegrass community and festival/touring circuits, and Wild Animals promises to extend that reach even further.

So what makes me say this? Even with amazing material already under their belt that should qualify that statement, and a market that’s already bursting at the seams with successful and strong Americana/folk artists? It’s simple, really. Even in a saturated scene that draws bits and pieces from country, bluegrass and folk, Trampled by Turtles stand out for the uniqueness of their sound. If you were reading closely above, you would notice that there is no drummer in this band. You would also believe that they rely on their stunningly good instrumentation. But there is something a bit more magical at work here, and it’s centered around instinct, an ability to translate elements of punk and classic rock songwriting into bluegrass format, and an incredible vocal performance from Simonett.

The title track kicks off the record, and it’s hard not to keep pushing repeat to dig into the rest of the songs. It’s atmospheric, and leaves just enough room to breathe to fill the spaces with “Repetition” is one of my favorites on the record, built unsurprisingly on repetition and refrain. And features some crazy good string work at the end that boost the rock factor up a notch. Lead single “Are You Behind the Shining Star?” is a great introduction to what the TBT sound has evolved to, an incredibly approachable and appealing tune that bridges musical genres. “Come Back Home” kicks things up a notch and although it clocks in as one of the shortest songs on the album, it packs a powerful, emotional punch. “Ghosts” is another dazzling display of depth, alongside the lightning-fast “Western World.”

On Wild Animals, Trampled by Turtles continues their upward swing of musical growth and maturity. This record shows so many different colors and influences in a collection of songs that exceeded my already heightened expectations. The notes seem to hang in the air with an exquisite type of length and weight, without adding heaviness to the songs. All of the players here are in tune with each other and with the intention of each song. The result is an elegant, emotional, dangerously good album that finds Trampled by Turtles at the top of their game.


Trampled by Turtles website: http://trampledbyturtles.com/

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