From the most superficial outlook, Triumph of the Wild’s Ryan Schilling and Christy Barrett seem perfectly representative of the blues-drenched face of the country scene. With zero frills to their often stone-edged tunes and their sophomore record, and We Come with the Dust being the product of a road trip that had taken the duo to all sorts of stops between Texas and Louisiana, you’d be forgiven if you had yourself a double-take over the fact that the Americana outlet’s somehow bred out of San Diego. Unfortunately, for every interesting bone in their bodies, their sophomore effort fails to stack up by comparison to other offerings on the indie folk scene, including their own 2008 debut.
Where their self-titled first soared with a well-mixed production between vocals, instrumentation, and song variety, We Come with the Dust staggers. An earthy effect laid over Barrett and Schilling’s vocals is laid thickly across the entire record, which is a neat trick for a track or moment here or there, but rarely for nearly an entire 36-minute stint with one exception (“Killing Season”) does it turn out well. On top of that, the band seem to have sacrificed the diversity present on Triumph of the Wild. They’ve sacrificed organic soul for technical and commercial prowess; the fact that almost every song present on lies within the same formula of “mid-tempo rocker becomes mildly more exciting as time goes on, with added vocal effects” speaks for itself. The songs, alone, are solidly listenable, but together on one record, it’s all much too much of the same.
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