The Lost Trailers - Welcome to the Woods
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: June 2, 2004
Review by Andy ArgyrakisWith brown forestry colored packaging, an album cover that displays all the long haired band members and the record-like layout pattern on the actual disc (songs are broken into sides and a "33 _ RPM" stamp is placed in between) it's obvious a certain degree of retro influence made its way on Welcome to the Woods. The project marks The Lost Trailers' first for a major label, prior to which the Atlanta band slugged it out on the road to expose their classic American rock and roll vibe mixed with storybook songs to as many people as possible.
The disc is basically broken into two categories: the barn-burning rockers that jam with a Black Crowes/Allman Brothers fervency and the introspective acoustics that recall Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska/The Ghost of Tom Joad mode and the more pop-minded 70s material by Willie Nelson. It's with this first category where the band primarily excels, kicking up a dusty insurgence on "Averly Jane," the smoky organ tipped bruiser "Down In the Valley" and southern fried snarl of "Mary." On "Bad Habit," singer Stokes Nielson charmingly groans like a stumbling drunkard over old school production that also takes advantage of a gospel-flavored organ over chunky electric guitars.
Comparatively speaking, the more inwardly focused ballad based compositions aren't nearly as rousing, though the songwriting aptitude is still present. Throughout the delicate build of "Longfall," the gang jokingly speaks of loosing a loved one to a Hollywood obsession while "Atlanta" pays tribute to its hometown over a windy jangle pop base. "Love & War (In a Small Town)" may only possess a dribble of the soul possessed in the album's rock anthems, but its message is intricate and emotive. The track traces growing up in rural America and loosing one's brother while defending the country at war.
The Lost Trailers may not be reinventing the wheel with Welcome to the Woods, but they are revisiting a time which gets overlooked much too frequently. They certainly have room to amp it up even more come the next project, but at least they've started on the right track with a welcome and well planned flashback.
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