It doesn’t take very long into Destroyer Of The Void to hear that Blitzen Trapper is swinging for the bleachers with their fifth full-length. Aside from the overtones of late ’60s Beach Boys, you’ll also find strangely appealing prog-rock tendencies, somewhere between Bowie and Jethro Tull, believe it or not.
Don’t worry: the influence is restricted to campfire acoustical moments and frontier arrangements. What’s left is a weirdly compelling album that has hints of greatness as well as its share of hair-pulling moments.
Destroyer Of The Void works best with altered states—something that’s needed on occasion as Eric Earley’s lyrics jump from old west narratives to musical arrangements that could have be lifted from Deram Records circa 1968. And like any project that’s forged from forcing hallucinations into creative statements, there’s a feeling the Blitzen Trapper is biting off more than they can chew. Destroyer Of The Void‘s most damning complaint is that all of that hippie love buzz makes for an uneven listening experience.
It’s what makes the transition between songs like “Love And Hate” and “Heaven And Earth” stand out like a sore thumb rather than blend together to form that big statement that Blitzen Trapper is obviously going towards.
“Love And Hate” is fueled with hippie optimism (“Why love and hate / Cohabitate”), fuzz guitar and Procol Harum organs before jumping into “Heaven And Earth’s” bold piano and strings serenity. It’s hard to follow Earley’s jump into those big, universal themes (“The canyons of our deepest dreaming lives”) immediately after he’s advising his old lady to move back into his place after an epic spat.
The good news—and there’s enough here to warrant your attention—is that every bit of Destroyer Of The Void sounds like it’s coming from an honest creative burst hashed out in basement rehearsals and practice space sessions.
It also sounds like a transition record, and they sound good enough to adapt to either direction that’s prevalent in Destroyer Of The Void.
Now we just need an album focused enough on one of those directions to determine if Blitzen Trapper has decided to put down the joint or the horse saddle.