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Tuesday, March 3, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 32.0° F  Overcast
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...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
So Divided (Interscope)

The Texas-based band with the sentence-long moniker was once known for getting bloody on stage and busting up instruments when its turbulent indie-rock was in full frenzy. But that was then and this is now, and the band's current approach has a lot more to do with the "epic" productions of progressive arena acts like Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin than with the feral music of their youth.

So Divided 's lugubrious linguistic content may scream grimy post-punk nihilism (corrupted romance, wasted effort and the evanescence of youth are some of main mouth Conrad Keely's primary preoccupations). But the pianos, strings, horns, percussion and electronically tweaked vocals that crop up on most tracks suggest the empty grandeur of a well-financed heavy-metal act. Highly produced fare like "Wasted State of Mind," the title song and "Life" must have been fun to build in the studio, track by track, but their grandiosity is mighty filling. Perhaps too much so.

Maybe So Divided will open up a whole new audience for ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. If so, bully for them. But old fans may have trouble with their epochal - and rather atavistic - evolution.

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