Band name shouldn’t deter from decent album

.And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead

“So Divided”

2 out of 5 stars

For those who are not familiar with .And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, odds are the band’s ridiculously long name will put many of you off.

But make no mistake, these guys from Austin, Texas released arguably the best album of this decade, 2002’s “Source Tags and Codes.” Since then, they’ve released 2005’s stellar but poorly received “Worlds Apart,” and this one. But for a band that was figuratively on the ropes, the feel of this record does not seem quite appropriate.

“Source Tags and Codes” was chock full of bombastic guitars and wonderfully frenetic songs while “Worlds Apart” was more progressive and experimental but still characteristically AYWKUBTToD.

But poor sales of “Worlds Apart” prompted front man Conrad Keely to think about disbanding the group.

“So Divided” finds the band continuing down that experimental, prog-epic road, moving away from bombastic guitar city limits. This album is filled with a selection of tracks that are subtler and more down-tempo than most anything the group has done.

Unfortunately, rather than providing for a varied, interesting listen, the album is boring in places and really drags in others, where the songs stretch upwards of six minutes. It’s a good record comparatively speaking, but for an AYWKUBTToD album, it comes up short. Sorry Conrad. I still like your band though.

Key Tracks: “Stand in Silence,” “So Divided”

Mute Math

“Mute Math”

3.5 out of 5 stars

The first time I heard this album, I noticed it gave me the same feeling as when I first heard The Killers’ debut LP in 2004. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is, but the difference is while I enjoyed “Hot Fuss” (before pop culture went and ruined it), I am very impressed by Mute Math.

This could be described as post-rock for the modern era. Musically, this album features lots of guitar and synth noodling to accompany dub-feel bass lines and occasionally disjointed rhythms. Don’t let all of these musical adjectives confuse you though. Mute Math’s songs are very poppy at times and at other times carry with them that arena-rock-like air.

The only minor knock would be that some of the songs stretch out a touch longer then they should, but if that’s your biggest problem then you’re not doing so badly. This album has gotten better with repeated listens (I’m now up to spin #4), because of its ability to be complex and fascinating without going over the average listener’s head. So if I were you, I’d drop this paper right now and find yourself a copy. Go ahead, what are you waiting for?

Key Tracks: “Typical,” “Noticed,” “Control”