12 Songs, 50 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Before the writing and recording of their tenth album, …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead co-founder/multi-instrumentalist Conrad Keely experienced some life changes. After a five-year stay in Cambodia, Keely moved back to Austin in 2018 and reconvened with co-founder Jason Reece—a decision that allowed both of them to rekindle their musical partnership and celebrate their enduring career (best demonstrated when they embarked on a 20th-anniversary tour in support of their breakthrough 1999 release Madonna).

Musically, Keely and his bandmates approach their return with a skillful balance of melody and raw urgency—and a witches’ brew of symphonic bombast. On the Pink Floyd-like “Who Haunts the Haunter,” Keely connects ideas of existentialism with references to ancient Greek mythology—always tackling such grand concepts in a whimsical and approachable manner. He writes about feeling displaced and breaking creative barriers on “All Who Wander” and “Something Like This,” adding sharp-edged riffs and layers of melodic picking over lavish piano strokes. “Children of the Sky” unburdens his sorrow with a cathartic release, conveying the hurt that comes from leaving someone or something meaningful over tumbling drums and an extended musical bridge.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Before the writing and recording of their tenth album, …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead co-founder/multi-instrumentalist Conrad Keely experienced some life changes. After a five-year stay in Cambodia, Keely moved back to Austin in 2018 and reconvened with co-founder Jason Reece—a decision that allowed both of them to rekindle their musical partnership and celebrate their enduring career (best demonstrated when they embarked on a 20th-anniversary tour in support of their breakthrough 1999 release Madonna).

Musically, Keely and his bandmates approach their return with a skillful balance of melody and raw urgency—and a witches’ brew of symphonic bombast. On the Pink Floyd-like “Who Haunts the Haunter,” Keely connects ideas of existentialism with references to ancient Greek mythology—always tackling such grand concepts in a whimsical and approachable manner. He writes about feeling displaced and breaking creative barriers on “All Who Wander” and “Something Like This,” adding sharp-edged riffs and layers of melodic picking over lavish piano strokes. “Children of the Sky” unburdens his sorrow with a cathartic release, conveying the hurt that comes from leaving someone or something meaningful over tumbling drums and an extended musical bridge.

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