Searching the Brittle Light
added: 31 Aug 2014
// release date: 14 Jul 2014 // label: Audio Candle Records
reviewer: Paul Chapinal
Thom Bowden wrote this album while he was in the doldrums and looking for an outlet for whatever was bugging him and couldn’t articulate. Nothing new there; music as an outlet for emotions is as old as, well music. And there’s not a lot new here from Mr Bowden, in truth.
The Lo-fi approach of the would-be scuzzy rocker is all present and correct: the down tuned guitars, basic bass and drums and a whiny voice. There are examples of both on So So Long and My Arms which open the album. However before this turns into a ultra-negative dismissal lets listen to How About It?; an acoustic song with off kilter rhythms and Bowden’s voice just about in check. There’s also With Pace which is a short sharp rocker in the Song 2 vein.
The Water is Cold’s classical guitar and strings has a Spanish flavour to it and sits oddly, but quite well within the album. The other highlights are In The Ground, a dose of heavy blues rock, and the closing track the Americana of Sweet and Tender, which is.
This is an ok debut; in places it is enjoyable. The playing is fine and the production is as you’d expect with Steve Albini involved. It just doesn’t quite work as a whole but the real problem is that Thom Bowden’s voice is at times irritating to the point of being unlistenable.
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