Audio Candle Records (label)
14 July 2014 (released)
31 August 2014
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.