TRAMPLED BY TURTLES
Album review: "Stars and Satellites"
By Christopher Kompanek
Friday, Apr. 20, 2012
Trampled by Turtles mixes rhythmic banjos and guitars with lovelorn fiddles, creating a sound that seeps deeply into our pores and permeates our core until their riffs merge with our pulse.
The Minnesota band's sixth album, "Stars and Satellites," distills its frenzy into just nine songs and takes a step back from the sonic heart attacks of the previous five. Frontman Dave Simonett's opening strums on "Midnight on the Interstate" set a more measured and expansive tone for the songs to follow. It's not that "Stars and Satellites" has more ballads - although it does - but rather the passion in its songs is more finely funneled, allowing each instrument to breathe.
Still, it's not that surprising that fiddle player Ryan Young was a drummer in a speed metal act. Simonett also plays guitar with the intensity that his band's name evokes. The result is an immersive experience that is felt rather than thought.
The deceptively titled "Walt Whitman" has a frantic and catchy melody, but it's tempered with Simonett's almost melancholic lyrics: "Caught in a whirlwind / Dry as a ball / And I don't think / That I can make it / On my own." In contrast, "High Water" treads the slowest of tempos while layering moody banjo picks, wistful lyrics and equally expressive fiddle swells.
"Stars and Satellites" proves there's value in the space between notes. As Simonett and Co. mature, this is probably the impulse to guide them to greater things.