Feb 27, 2013
Album Review: Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck - Eden
Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck on this epic-sounding collection of bluegrass and jam-band tinged Americana. Eden crackles with energy whether winding its way through "Blackstone Valley," cranking up the horns and banjo on "Inside Joke" or indulging in some tension and release on the lengthy "Parallel Lives" (Seriously, I haven't heard as satisfying a kick in a long time as when the coda drops in on this song).
Think early Wilco with a broader sound or a modernized version of The Band and you've got an idea of Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck's M.O., but they definitely have their own distinct approach and delivery. It's full of vitality and soul. "Modern backwoods music" (as someone labeled them) describes it pretty well.
"Inside Joke" is an early pick for my favorite songs of the year. The ring of an electric banjo and blare of a trumpet(?) alongside biting lyrics about a faltering relationship make this a bittersweet but uplifting gem. "Happy Ending" might sound like a too on-the-nose title for an album closer, but it's a lilting number with an earworm chorus that leaves you with the desire to hit "play" on track one again.
Eden was my introduction to these guys, who've released a whole album with Levon Helm on drums before(!), but it won't be my only experience with the band. It's an album as easy to listen to as it is difficult to take in on just a few listens. Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck's art is an addictive sound, essential to the genre and worthy of your time.
Eden will be released next Tuesday, March 5. You can get your grubby hands on it (and a cool t-shirt) here: http://music.bowthayer.com/