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Blitzen Trapper - Black River Killer EP

Titling your EP after a song about a serial killer, and starting the album off with that very song, sets a bit of a dour mood to the proceedings.

Titling your EP after a song about a serial killer, and starting the album off with that very song, sets a bit of a dour mood to the proceedings, and Blitzen Trapper never really shake off that austere spirit on the rather sedate ‘Black River Killer’ EP. The six other songs on the album, which have previously been sold as a tour only EP, seem a tad unfinished and skeletal in comparison to the more lush tracks found on the bands most recent full length, ‘Furr’. It’s good for completists to have these recorded versions of songs that the Portland band have been playing live for a while now, but the tracks themselves are rather boring and routine, and, after listening, it becomes quite apparent why these songs didn’t make the final cut for ‘Furr’.

The songs continue the acoustic driven tendencies that Blitzen Trapper have already mapped out on their records, never really deviating too much from a formula that has worked well enough for them so far in their career. But the tracks themselves are a bit more sparse and simple in comparison to the rest of the band’s output, and that simplicity serves the brief EP well, even while not shining too much of a light on the possible direction Blitzen Trapper’s sound might take in the future. Most of the songs are innocuous enough, and pass by in a flash without making too much of an impression. ‘Preachers Sisters Boy’ is the playful highlight of the set, with a bit of a Wilco sound to the upbeat song. But the cheery, fun nature of that track is absent on the rest of the songs, as spare acoustic guitars only add to the solemn nature of the vocals, and keeps the tracks grounded in seriousness, which is never a good thing for EPs. Bands should take chances and expand their horizons a bit on these minor releases, but Blitzen Trapper don’t stray too far from their comfort zone on ‘The Black River Killer’ EP, nor do they really sound like they are having any fun with these songs, and, as a result, they don’t really produce anything all that memorable or significant.

Tags: Blitzen Trapper, Reviews, Album Reviews

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