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Under Black Sails - EP
Artist: Traindodge 
Label: Ascetic
Length: 5 tracks / 23:40

For several years, Traindodge put out the same stream of quality, so-intense-it’s-soothing math-rock that varied time-signature so often
within each song that it was hard to tell where one ended and another began. Then last year, they took a chance and put out a double CD (The Truth, which made my Top Ten list for 2004) incorporating relatively more traditional song arrangements and more understandable lyrics.

With the Under Black Sails EP, I believe they have struck the perfect median between the two.  The vocals are at their clearest.  The songs themselves are distinct, but they don’t lose a thing when it comes to the music.

The opening track, “The Rest of a Life,” is one of Traindodge’s best soundscapes to date with an extended section of guitar strumming over the sound of chimes with other instruments coming in and out.

“Quiet Knife” is a foot-tapping, progressive hand-banger with some nice wah and special effects.

The highlight of the album, “Points,” starts off with a Red Hot Chili Peppers or Spin Doctors funk vibe with brilliant competing time signatures that eventually reconcile.  The song ends with a stretch of fast-picked bass over furious muted guitar strumming.

“The Winner Will be Buried Alive” is pretty standard Traindodge fare and the closer, “Nowhere Fast” alternates progressive sections with a groove of bongos and hand-clapping.

Fans of bands like Jawbox, Fugazi and Rush should order this album immediately at Under Black Sails is the best album of the year so far in my opinion.  My only complaint is that it is too short.

Traindodge has just returned from touring Japan and is now promoting the new album in the Great Plains.

Dan Singleton   8/1/2005

PS ­ Do not be put off by the profanity on the band’s website.  I’m not even sure what it’s doing there as that isn’t really their style.  There is no discernible profanity on the album.


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