"I was a substitute teacher about 10 years ago and had the pleasure (?) of taking a 'special' class of hyperactive kids to an assembly on Valentines Day, AFTER they'd gotten amped on candy.AYWKUBTTOD are just like those kids - the world of music is their playground, and once onstage they just CAN'T KEEP STILL. At the first live show I saw (before this lovely gem was released) they broke a snare drum on the first song, and were shocked when another local band lent them a drum (bands in their native Austin know better). I remember drummer/guitarist/singer #2, Jason, walking offstage in mid-set and twirling around on the floor on one arm, as if to stir up the crowd like a human blender. These guys have a lot of energy to release, and usually take it out on their arsenal of equipment that knows it lives on borrowed time. Sonically, this band makes an undeniable nod to the great Sonic Youth era where beautiful noisescapes were barely contained within 'song' frameworks. The Trail of Dead boys have done their homework, and offer a storybook of consistently mesmerizing works of sheer power and pensive grace.In the album's opener, they get their manifesto right out there, ("This is a riot, right??") as if to warn the timid to hang on dearly. Then "Novena Without Faith" proves just how many gears of the rock machine these guys have mastered with a mellow, yet driving, dreamy quality. Check out the sound byte enclosed here of "Fake Fake Eyes" to hear how much territory they can seamlessly cover in 30 seconds.Their albums can be addicting for the sheer force of the moods they create, particularly in "Gargoyle Waiting" which sounds like one of them took up residence atop a cathedral in December. The album draws to a close with a sneaky bang on "Ounce of Prevention", creeping in on a one-note wail and building into a frenzied wall of teen angst.High-quality rock fury and craft that has not been touched since Sonic Youth decided to be a cutesy art band."
Take It All At Once
Marc Redshaw | Peoria, IL USA | 02/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'll have to admit that the first time I tried to give this album a listen, I was anything but impressed. The first song ("Richter Scale Madness) seems to just be a badly produced homage to punk, and the second song ("Novena Without Faith") sounds like it was ripped right out of Sonic Youth's "Bad Moon Rising." I think I took it out of my CD player sometime in the middle of track number three. I got home later that night and popped it in, again. And again, I was unimpressed. I spaced out for a while, and then all of a sudden I was hit by the sonic explosion of "Prince With A Thousand Enemies." My mouth was hanging open, I remember thinking something along the lines of "what in the hell just happened?" I listened to that song around twenty times in a row before I finally let it continue on to "Ounce of Prevention." And it happened again, pure sonic terror. The dissonant opening and the punk hued drums, the shouted vocals, the terror, the terror. The whole deal about this album is definitely in how it builds. This isn't one that you buy for a few songs because everything is made so much more by the listening to of the whole. I suggest this and any other ...Trail of Dead (save maybe "Worlds Apart") for anyone who heard Sonic Youth's "Sister" or "Daydream Nation" and was only left craving more. A truly jarring listen."
NME online review
ancil | Green Springs, OH United States | 08/25/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"since nobody has found any reviews helpful here is NME's reviewJIM JARMUSCH WOULD surely be intrigued. After all, it isn't every week that a band turns up from Austin, Texas via Olympia and Hawaii with a moniker ten words long which implies much shadowy miserablism going down in the spooky ol' Midwest. Either that, or we're about to uncover Cradle Of Filth's long lost cousins of symphonic carnage... Fear not, kids of popness: And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead are actually four well-turned out chaps with uniform mod crops and biographical details along the lines of "a self-contained destruction unit". They made their live debut in 1995, this is their first ever album, and against several odds it rocks like a raccoon on a snowboard. For Yankophile thrill-seekers the globe over, Sonic Youth and Afghan Whigs are the most obvious reference points lurking within the likes of 'Richter Scale Madness' and 'When We Begin To Steal' respectively. From Da Yoof they purloin searing guitars; from Les Whigs they adopt that mixture of menace and pathos, captured within the audacious sprawl of 'Novena Without Faith' which fizzles for eight-and-a-half minutes. Of course, size isn't everything. Many of these eight tracks are content to whiplash in around the classic three-minute mark, although the majority are probably a tad too whacked-out for mass consumption. On 'Fake Fake Eyes' AYWKUBTTOD (cheers!) make like Urusei Yatsura's dads; during 'Prince With A Thousand Enemies' you could swear they were parodying Placebo's 'Bruise Pristine'; 'When We Begin To Steal' is quite, quite lovely, climaxing in a mosquito dub storm. And the rest scrambles past with varying degrees of foxiness, niftiness and a few other words that rhyme with 'bloody marvellous musical mess'. Which is nice. 8/10 Simon Williams"
The beginning of a truly great rock band...
Jon B. | San Francisco, CA United States | 02/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"People have complained about the production value of this album. That when played it sounds real quiet as if music is being played in the other room or something. All you have to do is turn it up louder than you would with most CD's, it appears there's just a problem in the digital levels of the CD.
That aside, this album is just awesome, it rocks, it's seminal Trail of Dead. If you love their newer albums, you'll love this album just as much. No matter what other idiots might think, this band is one of the most original sounding rock groups out there and with their great musical knowledge, talent and skills as artists I doubt that will change.
See them live and hear these songs played again as if they were brand new, you'll have a whole new opinion of the band."