Blitzen Trapper: All Across This Land
There’s rock that apes the past, and then there’s rock that celebrates it—stepping into the same current but moving forward. Portland, Ore.’s Blitzen Trapper have long been Americana preservationists (these guys released a faithful cover of Neil Young’s Harvest on Record Store Day), and on their eighth album, they tap into something special. All Across This Land dances through familiar touchstones: piano-laden Springsteen stompers (“Cadillac Road,” “Nights Were Made for Love”), Jackson Browne-y soft ‘70s rock (“Love Grow Cold”) and American Beauty-era Dead (“Let the Cards Fall”). But like their modern-classic rock peers Dawes, Blitzen Trapper make these warm sounds their own. Frontman Eric Earley’s songwriting hasn’t been this crisp and catchy since the band’s 2008 breakthrough, Furr. “Rock and Roll (Was Made for You)” hits like Blitzen Trapper’s mission statement, lyrically and musically: four minutes of guitar solos and ecstatic keys, “woo woo”s and Earley crowing, “It’s gonna spin your head round and round; It’s the hardest kind of love I’ve found.” The band’s devotion to its elders pours out all over This Land—it’s 10 tracks that are pure Americana fun. There aren’t serious ballads; it’s Blitzen Trapper shouting, “It’s only rock ‘n’ roll, but we love it.” On All Across This Land, so do we.