Album Review: Trampled by Turtles - Stars and Satellites


Trampled By Turtles
Trampled by Turtles - "Stars and Satellites" (Courtesy photo)

Duluth's Trampled by Turtles made a new goal while writing and recording their latest album Stars and Satellites. They wanted to make an album that "breathes."

What does that mean?

From the band's standpoint, they were able to step out of their musical comfort zones and create an album as a whole rather than several segmented pieces that feel like a live show. This meant the approach to making the album changed as well. In the past, they would record albums to feel like the live show or even treated recording like touring by cutting tracks in several different studios. Stars and Satellites was slowed down — recorded in a cabin near Duluth with Tom Herbers, who has worked with Low and The Jayhawks to name a few. They lived, played, wrote and breathed in the same space to create one cohesive album.

For the listener, a new album that "breathes" means you get a peek at their growth process as they focus on songwriting — lyrically and musically. You get a sense that Trampled by Turtles has been sprinting an entire marathon, and this record is a chance to stop and approach their music from a different angle.

For a band that cut its teeth playing live and made their name based on their live energy, this is a completely different approach and challenge not to be dismissed. Throughout the album, you hear the inhales and the exhales.

The inhales:

With its introspective lyrics contemplating our place in the world and building melodies that draw you in, the album's first single "Alone" starts with the strong statement: "You come into the world... alone." "Sorry" has the driving rhythm Trampled by Turtles is known for while singing a song about regret and the end of a relationship: "I never meant to hurt you darling/When you leave me, let me down easy won't you/You'll be sorry, and I'll be sorry."

The exhales:

Probably the next song you'll be playing on repeat, "Walt Whitman" has an incredibly catchy chorus that reaches ear worm status. And "Risk" is the "freight train that could go off the tracks at any moment" instrumental which is characteristic of their live shows.

The resulting album accomplishes its goal, and it's fun to hear an incredibly talented band approach their music from a different perspective and take you along on the journey.