Album Review: Trampled by Turtles, 'Wild Animals'


trampled by turtles wild animals
Trampled by Turtles' album, 'Wild Animals', releases Tuesday, July 15. (© 2014 Banjodad Records.)

Trampled by Turtles' profile has certainly increased in the past year with their CD/DVD release of Live at First Avenue, which continues to pop up on the cable channel Palladia. The time seems just right for the release of a new studio album.

The band's seventh studio album is called Wild Animals. Trampled by Turtles continue to focus more on the songcraft than the speed and precision. Simply put: This isn't your daddy's bluegrass band. This is bluegrass for people who don't necessarily like bluegrass. Trampled by Turtles happen to be a string band, but they have no problem dipping their toes in rock. Heck, they've covered Pixies on record, and there is even a smattering of drums on the new album, which has always been a no-no for a bluegrass band.

Low's Alan Sparhawk was enlisted to produce Wild Animals, which was recorded at Pachyderm in Cannon Falls, Minn., where legendary albums by Nirvana and The Jayhawks were born. This album may end up being just as legendary. Sparhawk shows restraint with Trampled by Turtles' earthy and uncluttered sound, leaving plenty of space for Dave Simonett's world-weary, mournful voice to shine. You can really feel his ache.

This might be Trampled by Turtles' best batch of songs yet! The title track "Wild Animals" sets the tone with its dark and dreamy feel. "Hollow" almost marries the old bluegrass tradition with a more modern Americana feel. "Repetition" — yup, it's a different version of the track featured on Simonett's Razor Pony EP — is another winner. My favorite might be "Nobody Knows," which neatly combines traditional bluegrass with an almost gospel feel; the late Bill Monroe might have liked this one. You might even catch yourself singing along to the first single, "Are You Behind The Shining Star."

Don't fear the banjo. It's not the enemy. If you are a fan of well-crafted songs with a rootsy sound, Wild Animals belongs in your collection.

Purchase Wild Animals



What do you think of the album? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Related Stories

  • 5 Current Artists who've made their way to A Prairie Home Companion There's not a lot of crossover between The Current and A Prairie Home Companion, but good music is universal, so there have to be a couple of intersections here and there. Here are the five standout Current-Prairie Home crossover performances.
  • Movie Maven: 'The Way, Way Back' MPR's Movie Maven, Stephanie Curtis, joins Jill Riley and Jade (filling in for Steve Seel) to review a new coming-of-age film that stars Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney and Liam James -- and features music by Duluth's Trampled by Turtles.
  • The best of the in-studios: The Punch Brothers, the Avett Brothers and Trampled by Turtles To celebrate Public Radio Music Month, we're having a daily vote for the best in-studio tracks from The Current's performance archive. We've gone through and picked some of the most beloved performances by the staff and by our audience. We'll play the winner during the Live Current track of the day the following day.
  • Trampled By Turtles performs in The Current studios The Duluth quintet has been steadily expanding its fan-base for the past decade, and the release of their fifth record "Palomino" undeniably helped propel them into greater mass appeal. It reached #1 on the US Bluegrass charts and stayed in the top 10 for over a year. It should come as no surprise then that the year which followed the release proved to be Trampled By Turtles' most important year yet, solidifying their role as one of the major players of Minnesota music making an impact nationally and abroad.
  • Trampled by Turtles perform live at the Minnesota State Fair Trampled by Turtles stopped by the Current booth at the Minnesota State Fair for a live performance.

comments powered by Disqus