…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead: So Divided

Recall that special time when you were a kid at Christmas and you were waiting for that one, special, perfect toy. You waited with baited breath to tear into the package and play with it until the cows came home. Then Christmas morning comes and you ignore all of your other gifts and you finally get to it and it’s not so great. Okay, so the album wasn’t all that bad, but it is certainly lacking in comparison to previous ones. I don’t know if the guys were self- conscious from the wide-scale criticism of their last effort, or if they just decided to totally go their own way. What I can say is that I spent most of the time listening to the album waiting for that one special TOD spark that has been so present in their sound over the years. Weeks later, I still find myself waiting.

I swore to myself that I would never rail against these guys because they’re an amazing band and are capable of great and wonderful things. But the fact is, it just wasn’t there. There were a few amazing songs on there: “Gold Heart Mountain Top Queen Directory,” and the single, “Stand In Silence,” should be revered as the saving grace of the effort. It’s worthy of limited praise for these songs alone. The rest seems to be a tipping-of–the-hat to The Beatles, which I really hate. The music gives us nothing to really latch onto. I suppose everybody is entitled to one bad effort now and again, but with Conrad Keely and Jason Reece living in separate states, there’s no telling what TOD’s future will be or how often they’re going to record or play out. Any TOD fan should own it for their collection, but it’s not something for the permanent rotation.

In A Word: Unexpected