Man, oh man. Fuzzed-out bass. Discordant strings. Punk rock bravado. This can’t be Ben Trickey, can it? Where is the grizzled indie-folk? The naked arrangements? The wounded vulnerability? The Atlanta singer-songwriter has become known for crafting dark, lonesome songs that tackle existential themes of love and loss, hope and heartache. But on “Bombs,” the latest single from his new LP, Choke & Croon, Trickey unveils one of his most ambitious tracks yet, one that weds the urgency of everyman rockers The Hold Steady and Titus Andronicus with his own anthemic interpretation of Americana. It feels less upbeat than staunchly defiant, and who couldn’t use a little more defiance these days?
Despite his sad sack reputation, Trickey’s music and lyrics have always rung with perseverance, so frankly, it’s exciting to hear him transform that survival spirit into something more purposeful. “Bombs” is certainly not his best song — it might not even be my favorite song on the new record — but it’s one that points towards a new direction for him as a songwriter. It’s anyone’s guess where that path might lead, but it’s well worth finding out.
Choke and Croon is out digitally today via Anthem Breath Records with CDs and LPs to follow sometime next month.