...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead

Madonna

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The second album from these Austin noisemakers drifts from mind-sweeping tranquillity to cathartic cacophony, sometimes in the course of a single song. It all pushes toward overload by the end -- many of the songs follow the same formula of a slow build to a glorious breakdown -- but the band's mix of guitar simplicity and sonic ambition works to construct a tower of super sound. The distortion, too, plays a part on Madonna; it serves as both primal instrument and harmonic distracter. Decent post-rock for a new century.

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