Very few bands can last long enough to record five studio albums, let alone ten, in the brutal music business. The indie folk rock band known as Trampled By Turtles are circling the wagons on their victory lap for Alpenglow, their 10th studio album to date. This set was produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy with the majority of the 11 songs being written by lead singer Dave Simonett. This latest LP would be a great fit for fans of the quirky indie folk by The Decemberists, the working-man approach to songwriting by Jason Isbell, and the picturesque storytelling of Bob Dylan. Alpenglow is a stunning achievement for a band who continues to push the envelope of their creativity in new and interesting ways.
The record kicks off with the lead single “It’s So Hard To Hold On,” a song that allows for Simonett to expand upon the thematic elements brought forth in the mix. It’s a great-sounding single that delivers the goods in a three and half minute opus of beautiful songwriting. “Starting Over” is a bluegrass-esque track that features Dave Carroll’s great banjo playing in the forefront of the production before more strings are added in layers to the sound. The band is able to paint with different hues of color on “Central Hillside Blues,” a song about loss, and embracing the nostalgia that can seem to fade over time.
Other early standouts like the great indie folk driving song of “On the Highway” and the sweeping instrumentation found on “Nothing But Blue Skies” allow for Trampled By Turtles to continue down the exploratory path of in-depth storytelling through their music. On the latter song, the vocal harmonies really shine through Tweedy’s crisp production.
The back half of the set features a few more gems in “All The Good Times Are Gone,” and especially the closing song of “The Party’s Over” feature Simonett’s trademark vocal croon that can warm even the darkest of souls out there. The band really does a nice job of closing out the record on this track by allowing for one more chance to sing along to a chorus that invites audience participation. It’s a fitting end to the tenth chapter in the band’s discography that continues to age like a fine wine.