Blitzen Trapper had a short, sweet period of being the “next great alternative band” back in 2007 with their off-kilter, electronic folk album, Wild Mountain Nation.
That was when I first discovered them, and to me they sounded like the perfect blend of late-era Pavement and early-era Cat Stevens (I know there’s some Grateful Dead in there, but I try to ignore that part).
A year later the band released, IMO, an even better album, Furr, which to me sounded like an instant classic on first listen. Unfortunately, the lack of irony and electronic blips and bloops pushed the band back to the fringes of the music scene, where they remain to this day.
Listening to Furr a decade later, it still feels like one of those perfect albums, one I imagine I’ll be playing regularly until I expire or my hearing does.
The title track is a standout; an acoustic gem, a fable about a teenage boy who runs off to live with the wolves, learns their ways of life, starts to physically become a wolf, then at 23 sees a girl-wolf who wants the same type of freedom, they fall in love, turn back to human, start a life together and live out their days in sweet reverie for the time they spent living with the wolves.
It’s allegorical but also relatable to anyone who’s never felt like they fit in and always longed to run off and find their community, the people (or wolves) who would one day guide them to self-discovery. The song’s certainly got religious undertones, but it’s sweet, not preachy.
I get the same feeling listening to “Furr” that I do listening to one of Cat Stevens classics, like, “Wild World.” There’s an innocence and a vulnerability and a lack of cynicism that is rare in today’s modern music.
(Song recommendation by Steve Goldberg)