Destroyer of the Void (Sub Pop)
Since forming in 2000, the Oregon indie-folk group Blitzen Trapper has earned increasing critical and popular acclaim for each of its four albums, culminating in nearly universal support for 2008’s Furr. Unfortunately, on their fifth release, Destroyer of the Void, Blitzen Trapper sticks too close to their tried and true formula without stretching out whatsoever. And while this doesn’t necessarily kill the album, it certainly proves disappointing—and at times almost boring—for all but the most avid fan.
All of the group’s trademarks—from drawn-out and acoustic psychedelic compositions to beautifully constructed harmonies—are present here, but they’ve become repetitious enough that it’s hard to differentiate between tracks, making the album seem like one single psych-folk jam session. Void seems promising enough on first listen—it opens with the nearly six-minute title track, which is more progressive than anything the group has previously released and recalls ’70s bands like King Crimson and Yes more than the singer/songwriters Blitzen Trapper is typically associated with. But from there it’s a labor, as all the surprises melt away. There are a few hidden gems—“Dragon’s Song” and “Laughing Lover” showcase the classic-rock sound that singer Eric Early does best—but it’s all dragged down by the dull consistency of the rest of the album.