I almost didn't by this record. With a title like LOST SONGS, I thought this was a B-sides/rarities album filled with songs that didn't quite make it to previous releases. Not so! LOST SONGS is a completely new full-length record from ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead. The band's output since their masterwork SOURCE TAGS AND CODES has been scattershot -- many flashes of brilliance among some meandering or uninteresting tracks. I've been a fan of the band for a while now, and this is the kind of album that you will want to tell people about. The band crafts a brand of post-rock that feels hard to come by these days: part punk, part prog, and park alt rock, the band has slick sensibilities, but they do a great job creating a sonic atmosphere (complete with rolling intensity) around their tunes.
It's clear from the opening track that ...And You Will Know Us are making an tight, aggressive, and energized album. "Open Doors" pushes forward with an intensity that never lets up, and the energy isn't lost in transition to the next few tracks either ("Pinhole Camera," "Up to Infinity", "Opera Obscura"). In fact, this album burns with a fire that I haven't seen in quite a while; even when the band slows down ("Awestruck"), the result is a solid effort. The album does slow a bit towards the end, with the aforementioned "Awestruck" and album closer "Time and Again." These are by no means bad songs, but after the pure adrenaline of the first half of the record, listeners can't help but wait for the inevitable crash of cymbals and roar of amplifiers, but it never quite returns. The album is consistently good, but man, those first few songs are worth the price of admission alone. Not a single note on this album feels out of place or wasted. Sparked by civil unrest around the world and the collapse of the record industry, it's apparent that the band has found new inspiration some time between this recording and their previous TAO OF THE DEAD.
Pound for pound, this record is almost as good as 2002's SOURCE TAGS AND CODES -- it's a lean album that packs a punch. I would definitely recommend this album to fans of the band, and I would even suggest this as a good album to start listening to the band for new listeners as well. Fans of Dredg, Cave-In, or At the Drive-In should find plenty of material here to love. Standout tracks to sample/download: "Open Doors," "Up to Infinity" and "Pinhole Cameras." Definitely worth your time and money.