And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead first grabbed my attention when they got the shit kicked out of them, and had their gear stolen and pawned for a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon and a tin of Skoal by a pack of rabid Texas natives about a year ago. I quickly shunned their new record on Interscope, Source Tags And Codes, after listening to it in the office, but late one night I confronted the radiant "Another Morning Stoner" video on MTV2 and was hooked faster than R. Kelly in a middle school.
Filled with maddening instrumentals, each song quickly illustrates a somewhat romantic yet hopeless existence, enhanced with cryptic poetry. "Source Tags & Codes" is a luscious sonnet that features the softer side of this enigmatic band, while the eerie, sacrilegious lyrics of "Monsoon" make everyday feel like the Apocalypse. I think this quartet goes above and beyond a simple and demeaning label such as emo, or indie, or artful suicide rock. This record is an out of control stage coach, straddling the edge of a rocky mountain, with a burning wagon and insane driver at the wheel...that ironically won't crash and burn anytime soon. This will tickle you if you like Fugazi, At The Drive-In, or Drive Like Jehu. JASON ANFINSEN