BLITZEN TRAPPER Wild Mountain Nation (Lidkercow)

Imagine Pavement refereeing a friendly tussle between the “Basement Tapes”-era Band and The Flaming Lips, perhaps with The Magic Band hollering encouragement from the bleachers. Congratulations: the sound in your head is a pretty close approximation of the third album from Portland, Oregon collective Blitzen Trapper.

They do mad, upbeat garage clattery (“Devil’s A-Go-Go”), simultaneously old, weird and futuristic Americana (the title track) and distorted, Pavement-esque heaviosity (“Miss Spiritual Tramp”, kith and kin to the aforementioned’s “Shoot The Plane Down”). Elsewhere there’s a cryptic country hoedown attended by primitive synths (“Futures & Folly”), biscuit-tin electronica (“Sci-Fi Kid”), backwoods myth-making (“Badger’s Black Parade”), and, perhaps most bizarrely of all, the acoustic pastoral “Summer Town”. Tantalisingly, the credits credit one Mike Coykendal with writing and recording assistance on two tracks: could he be the Portland, Oregon-based Mike Coykendall who’s worked with Richmond Fontaine?

It might sounds like a backhanded compliment to suggest that “Wild Mountain Nation” seems longer than its 34 minutes. I don’t mean that it’s an interminable listen, more that it packs so much detail and variety into its brief running time that it seems like an ever-expanding box of arcane, unfolding trickery.