29 November 2015
Thomas Truax - Jetstream Sunset
As we approach the end of 2015, I am trying to catch up with as many albums as possible; so this might result in quicker reviews, but the amount of time I listen to the albums will not change. Let us start with this one, the latest from all round nice guy and living legend Sir Thomas of Truax. If you are not familiar with Thomas Truax, I would advise you to get with the program. In the live environment, there is nothing like him that I have ever seen. He makes his own instruments, he wonders into the crowd to sing at people and sometimes out of the venue, he has released an album of cover songs from David Lynch films, he has scored a theatre production - basically the guy is a legend to me. Now his last album 'Trolls, Girls & Lullabies' (our review linked here) was not one which I am over found with, but it is one I have returned to; maybe not as much as 'Why Do Dogs Howl At The Moon' (our review cleverly linked here), 'Audio Addiction' or 'Sonic Dreamer' however it is always nice to visit all parts of Wowtown. This album was released earlier this year and it is time to see how this album sounds......
The album starts with the title track "Jetstream Sunset" and it is sounds as if Sir Truax is off on a holiday on this number, it has a very jolly as the trip up to the jetstream takes form. It has that lovely organic feeling that comes from his music and a sing along style that makes it as catchy as a suntan on a Greece beach, you cannot help but fall in love with it. The second song is called "I Was a Teenage Post-Punk" and it is another gloriously eccentric song that is the main focus of this album. It is all about silly teenage things which I am sure a lot of people (including myself) can relate to. It combines his strange guitars, off beat drumming and has groove to it that is missing from the more mainstream acts that you will have heard. This song is one of the strongest I have heard from Sir Thomas in a long time and it is a pleasure to these ears, as you will always have on Sir Thomas releases. The third song is called "Driving In The Dark" is a strange tale about driving a car called Winston through the midnight streets, it is a slow number that sounds as haunted as a deserted town and the streets are filled with fog and mystery. Slower numbers are always required in albums to give records an ebb and flow, this is a great example of where a record is perfectly placed. Suspenseful and mysterious, the song brings it all and then some.
Fourth track "Phantom Vibrations" is the first on this album to feature the talents of Brian Viglione, the drummer from The Dresden Dolls and Violent Femmes; this is a musical partnership that makes so much sense from the beginning it is a wonder that it has not happened before. This sounds like the music you used to get from the 1990's cartoon show, The Ren & Stimpy show. It mentions green eggs & ham, the lack of attention span and it feels very loose and has a drone element to the song. It feels like it could be a song for a strange scene on a film from Mr Lynch and that is the best complement I can think of for this wonderfully strange number. "Shine Bight as You Can" is a gentle number in comparison to "Phantom Vibrations", the rhythm guitar sounds as if it is being played from a different room with a blanket over the speaker to make it muffled. The song washes over you with a positive message about trying to be your best and it is another good number, with a great message. "Feelin' Bad for Dracula" is the second track with Mr Viglione and it was released as a single in 2014, it is an ode to the way Dracula being put to the side by the current crop of vampire charlatans (aka Twilight). Any song that mention Dracula is always one that I will welcome and it is another tale that gives praise to the real main stay in the vampire and not the glittery chumps of doom. This collaboration is great as Mr Viglione complements the style of Mr Truax exquisitely. The last song to feature the drumming of Brian Viglione is "I've Got to Know" and this is the dirtiest number of the trio, with a deep bass running through as they go for one final ride towards that dark horizon. It is a song that you can naturally follow the groove, it is loose and free with a rebellious streak in the mix. I like this number, it is as different to the other collaborations as the other two and it feels as if they would have had great fun creating it.
"Fat Spider" is a hornicator heavy number with tells the tale of a single spider who lands on a wedding cake and how he steals it and he will eat it all out of revenge to his single life. It is a silly tune that will be looped wonderfully live, you cannot down play how important this sort of song is for any Thomas Truax album; there is always a strange and surreal humour on a lot of his music and this is a great example of what he can create. The ninth song is a cover of "You Are My Sunshine", it is a nice enough cover and is very faithful to the original. It is not as good as his covers of "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" originally by the Smiths or "One Piece At A Time" originally by Johnny Cash & the Tennessee Three, but it is not a bad number either and it is a natural lead up to "You Are My Sunset" which starts with an electronic horn blowing mournfully before the song truly starts. It is an instrumental which acts the natural companion to the previous number. It feels weighted with a melancholy which does not leave you for the full song, it is a reflective moment towards the end of this album. The end song is called "Written in Your Blood" and it builds up from a quite beginning with all the patience of a man who is in this for the long game. It loops and gains speed/volume which is added so subtly that by the time it reaches its crescendo at the end you are surprised with the sudden stop.
This is the best album that I have heard from Sir Thomas in a long time, it feels very complete and organic. I know that these songs will be able to transfer into his live set with ease and the collaboration with Brian Viglione just make you wish for a full album between these fine gentlemen. The cover of the album is fantastic, the pace is brilliant and it is a great album from one of the finest artists I have ever seen live. Another welcome newsletter from Wowtown!
8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart
Top track - Phantom Vibrations
You can purchase the MP3 version of Jetstream Sunset on Amazon here
You can purchase the album directly from the Thomas Truax Bandcamp here (along with all of his other works)
You can visit the Thomas Truax website here
You can stream Jetstream Sunset on Spotify here
You can stream Jetstream Sunset on Deezer here
You can stream Jetstream Sunset on Tidal here
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