Best Element: The lyrics here are thought-provoking.
Genre: Grungy Hardcore
Label: ascetic records
The ultimate test of an album is if it has staying power. If you want to go back and listen to it again and again, then it is a good album, despite what the critics may say about it. The weird thing about Traindodge is that the music sounds really good when you’re listening to it, but when you stop listening to it, it all becomes this sludgy mess in my mind. It all seems to run together, and I really have no ambition to hear it again. When I listen again, I remember why I liked it, but it takes some serious effort to get into it.
I hesitate to classify this, because the first thing that comes to mind is ‘grunge’. Perhaps there’s a new term for grunge that I missed out on, but that’s what this is. From the sludgy, dissonant guitars to the half-screamed, half-sung vocals, this has all the hallmarks that personified early 90’s. But this isn’t a Nirvana cover band. They have infused the sound with modern hardcore vibes (Knuckles, On a Lake) and the occasional mathy riff (Five Forks, Curtain Call), to create an angrier sound than the wailing, depressed melancholy that was most grunge.
But the real treat here is different than all of that. “The Anecdote” is a subdued, meandering rock piece that builds in emotion by repeating a single sample over and over (the screamed word “Run”). It’s extremely eerie and very interesting.
The lyrics are equally chaotic, as none of them are even halfway understandable on the first glance. It takes a LONG time for these lyrics to sink in, but once you finally think about them long enough, they suddenly become very understandable and cool. They talk mostly about Unfortunately, when listening to the album, it’s hard to catch what he’s singing/screaming, which relegates the lyrics booklet to nothing more than a booklet of poetry. That’s not a bad thing.
This is an album that cancels itself out. It has great lyrics, but it has unintelligible delivery. It has a great sound, but it doesn’t stick with you very long. They are extremely talented, and I still can’t figure out why this doesn’t stick longer. “On a Lake of Dead Trees” is a good album, but it’s missing something.