Blitzen Trapper - Holy Smokes Future Jokes
Updated: May 1, 2021
I join a lot of music groups on Facebook. A LOT. A chap on one of the indie groups I follow mentioned this as a fantastic new purchase. I had no idea what sort of music Blitzen Trapper made - it sounds like some terrible German heavy rock band (no disrespect to such bands, but your leather trouser heavy poodle rock is just not my cup of black coffee).
So I was delighted when I went exploring to discover that Blitzen Trapper were in fact an Americana band, with genre-hopping tendencies and resolutely not lederhosen rock (though I cannot hand on heart testify that they don't own leather keks, that's really their own business).
Hailing from Portland, Holy Smokes Future Jokes is their tenth album - think Dylan does The Beatles playing psych rock, West Coast power pop! It's complicated. The album takes its theme from Bardo - the Tibetan idea of the state of existence intermediate between two lives on earth - after one's death and before one's next birth.
Dead Billie Jean imagines Michael Jackson's protagonist hanging around in the afterlife with Brian Jones and Jim Morrison - "I was 6 feet under playin' bones with Brian Jones and Jim" and smoking dope with Abe Lincoln. She is unimpressed by them all.
Masonic Temple Microdose #1 is marvellous, upbeat and cool, despite the fact its lyrics consider the pointless of life and our apathy to the ecological problems we face - the world may be better off without us - "Okay, let's do the world a favour, yeah, let's all go extinct". Breaking into the local Masonic Lodge and causing mayhem does sound good though?
If you like a catchy chorus, Requiem is for you - "So let’s shine a light, shine a light through the dark day, shine a light" will embed itself in your head.
The album is full of rich harmonies, twisted folk music but breaming with melody and breezy catchy tunes. Closer Hazy Morning is full on Tom Petty - how we miss him!
Don't let the name put you off, this is a lovely album, and perfect for chilling on a summer's evening - let the metaphysical, spiritual concepts pass you by, this feels like the album George Harrison never got to make which is high praise indeed.