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Trailer Bride

Hope is a Thing With Feathers – 2003 (Bloodshot)

Reviewed by Rick Bell

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CDs by Trailer Bride

For those seeking a band offering snappy lyrics to a traditional country beat, perhaps it's best to just stop reading now. Trailer Bride is neither snappy nor traditional. In fact, the North Carolina quartet's whole presentation is so offbeat it's virtually unlistenable.

It's also repetitive, remote, sometimes dull and occasionally boring. Yet, there is a brightness amongst the dark, creepy surroundings of their fourth album. Bandleader Melissa Swingle is quite a talent, although her detached, seemingly drug-induced drawl at times offers all the warmth of a dead fish.

That's not to say there is nothing to hear. Quite to the contrary, Trailer Bride's fourth album has much to say. It just takes a listener a lot of effort to hear it. Once you get there, you realize Swingle can write engaging, compelling lyrics. "Mach 1" is biting and neatly sarcastic, while "Silk Hope Road" is anti-war. And "Shiloh" is a rather impressive instrumental from a band whose licks are too few and far between.

The title song is an Emily Dickinson poem put to music, about a bird of hope that sings through the fiercest storms. It's rather ironic that a Trailer Bride album offers the same challenge to its listeners - gotta go through a lot of trouble to get to anything worth hearing.