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Trampled by Turtles

Wild Animals – 2014 (Banjodad)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Trampled by Turtles

Trampled By Turtles, the five-piece band from Duluth, Minn., combines bluegrass, folk and country into an enjoyable mixture. This act, which has been known to cover such unexpected artists as the extremely somber Radiohead in concert, is gradually moving away from its speedy bluegrass leanings and incorporating much more moody instrumental blends into its music. "Wild Animals'" title track, for instance, opens up this 11-song album with a slow, dirge-y piece. With these new, more reflective sounds, one can now safely call the Avett Brothers and Dawes kindred spirits. All of these groups mix traditional instrumentation with decidedly modern song lyrics.

This is not to say Trampled By Turtles has neglected to show off their instrumental chops now and again, however. "Come Back Home" is a fast train that showcases Ryan Young's fiddle expertise. Furthermore, "Western World" is one where Dave Carroll's banjo particularly shines.

In a sense, though, Trampled By Turtles' style is a metaphor for our contemporary times. All of us, to some degree or other, are trying to reach for the brave new world of the future, without also leaving behind the sturdy traditions of our past. Wild animals symbolize the untamed charge of progress. You can't control it, but at least you can keep it somewhat corralled mentally and emotionally. But after all, what else would you expect a band of turtles, singing about wild animals on a label called Thirty Tigers?