Returning to the forefront of edgy post-hardcore, Oklahoma’s Traindodge expand their sound further on Wolves. Casual fans might think that the ’Dodge reached a career apex with the double-disc The Truth back in 2004, but this new album builds upon those formulas/templates, developing them to a wonderfully mature culmination.

Opener “Maze” immediately displays their evolution: more keyboards that provide richer textures; more ardent guitar riffs that gently incise the section of the brain that causes headbanging; and more non-egotistical lyrical matter from the genius of frontman and guitarist Jason Smith. The standout “You, the Disaster” goes through several different phases of heaviness versus melody, and drummer (and Jason’s brother) Rob Smith is truly at the top of his game with his nonchalant yet calculated polyrhythms. The Helmet-like start/stop chords of “Born in the Cold” spotlights Chris Allen’s lithe bass work, reprised later in his White Stripes-ish march of “When Bad Luck Talks.” The rhythmically rip-roaring “Rats on Wires” hearkens back to the rough-ridin’ rock of 2002’s On a Lake of Dead Trees (an expanded edition was re-released last year by Ascetic and No Karma Recordings), though the song fades out with drifting keys à la Queen’s Flash Gordon score.

Wolves also has a lion’s share of tunes that lean on Smith’s experimental side. The mellow “Clean” sounds very similar to Ken Andrews’ post-Failure band On, sporting a mechanical drum beat in the background with spacey and ethereal background tones. “It Always Finds You” features Kraftwerk-like keyboard tones at the break, while “Twice as Lost” is a slower track with an electronic pulse seemingly provided by the preset beats from an old Casio keyboard. With every successive album, Traindodge are becoming more and more progressive in their approach to songwriting, though they still retain their trademark heaviness on the superb Wolves.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chris Ayers
October 18th, 2007


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