Welcome to the Woods – The Lost Trailers
The story of Atlanta, Georgia’s The Lost Trailers is one that reads like a southern clichfilled with hardship and struggle packed into a two year span. Since their inception in summer 2001, the band has spent countless nights on tour struggling to get their music heard, while managing to have their equipment trailer, including all of their gear, stolen not once, but twice.
With a rural Georgia image and the name that is equally as fitting in the state’s sparsely populated red clay hills, the band has released their major label debut, Welcome to the Woods. But, from the opening notes of ‘Longfall,’ it becomes apparent that the rough times and hard touring that have illustrated the band’s past are musically elusive. Instead, the album moves forward with an overt sheen; the edges of even the most promising rock and roll songs are dulled by an overproduced quality inherent in today’s pop music set.
Lyrically, Welcome to the Woods packs a powerful punch with honest odes and fickle laments. ‘Down in the Valley’ paints a picture of a broken man with vivid songwriting expressed in lines like ‘She hides her diamonds in her secret places drawer / In case our livelihood should fall right through the floor,’ while ‘Fire on the Ponchartrain’ paints a dark story of a man who kills his cheating lover. Well-oiled lyrics rub together throughout the album, offering elaborate tales of passion and contradiction, and as a unit, guitarist/vocalist Stokes Nielson, keyboardist/vocalist Ryder Lee, drummer Jeff Potter, bassist Andrew Nielson and guitarist Manny Medina form a cohesive and comfortable bond that carries them through the album’s 14 tracks.
Ultimately, the dark side that is apparent on Welcome to the Woods is smeared beneath too much production, and the well-woven tales beg to be propelled with more absolute desperation. These are songs of trouble, but on this album they are reluctantly served on an ill-fitting silver platter. What Welcome to the Woods does show is the band’s potential in the live setting, far away from those technological tricks found in the den of a state-of-the-art studio. With a bottle of whiskey and a stiff dose of volume, these compositions could find the fire that deserve onstage. These are gritty songs, born of hardship, and begging to be stripped of their sticky coating.