On a Lake of Dead Trees

America’s heartland is a good place to find quality progressive chunk-rock, and Norman, Oklahoma’s Traindodge have been aiming to please since 1999. Their third full-length, On A Lake Of Dead Trees is raw talent: no Pro-Tools, over-production scams, or other chicanery here.

Opener “Beckon The Inferno” brandishes the typical Traindodge sound of cranked-up, Season To Risk-y volume with quiet, Shiner-istic passages. “Flight Of The Serpent” starts off even louder than the first then settles into serene interludes just like old Clockhammer. “Five Forks” and “The Visit” are where the band shakes off their residual punkiness and smooths out the lines like the Cargo Music roster of the early ’90s, with the latter expanding into a Gunfighter-like interval¬†– which shouldn’t surprise fans, since drummer Rob Smith also plays in Gunfighter with ex-Molly McGuire frontman Jason Blackmore. With “Curtain Call” comes a multi-cut furthering of the Gunfighter vibe, and “Knuckles” fosters this relationship. “Rusted Lincoln” is a Clockhammer-ed ballad of sorts, with well-placed echo effects near the beginning so that Jason Smith’s vocals resonate deep in your speakers. “The Unlikely Runaway” begins like a few cuts off Gunfighter’s Pro-Electric, relentlessly pummeling with chords and cymbal crashes until around the three-minute mark when the tune downshifts and gets Shiner-quiet, then cranks up and fades out. After a minute of static silence, the short (mostly) instrumental “The Anecdote” fades in gradually, crumbling away to a wall of feedback. “Brass-Eyed” closes out the proceedings with a punkish, King Crimson timbre, drifting off after four minutes into a restful soundscape of distant bells, metal clicks, and ambient washes.

Along with the Gunfighter split CD (also on Ascetic) and the Journey tribute (on Urinine), On A Lake Of Dead Trees should tide over fans until Traindodge’s new platter, tentatively titled The Truth, is released this fall.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chris Ayers
February 19th, 2002


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