…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – Source Tags and Codes (Interscope)

This is a remarkable album in modern rock music. The tracks seem to work to remain anonymous and part of the collective whole of the record even though individually, they are great pieces of music. Rarely is a rock record constructed like this. The tracks run together as if the entire record is really one piece of music running over a changing landscape with several dramatic nadirs and apices. Washes of guitars and waves of drums and bass spill over the songs’ brightly melodic moments. “It Was There That I Saw You,” for instance, blows out of the gate with shrieking guitars, incessant drums and urgent vocals but almost immediately collapses into a delicate sweeping guitar melody before building right back up and shrieking again til it disappears. It’s an altogether thrilling opener. “Relative Ways” has all the promise of being a single for the band with its simple, catchy vocal melody floating in waves of fuzz. But, as mentioned, it’s the album’s whole sound and tracking that is the real work here. This is absolutely essential. Listen to it loudly.