Thornhill Review


Reviewed by: Chad Maloney

From Tue Aug 10 16:21:47 1999
Subject: Initial Thoughts on Thornhill
From: Chad Maloney 
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 15:21:47 -0500

Okay, everyone. Canadians and other, this is a spoiler message. Read at
your own risk, ok? 

Here's my initial take on Thornhill at first listen and second listen. What
makes albums tops in my book is hard to describe. I appreciate a good bass
line, but too much is too much and too complex is too complex. Real
meaningful great lyrics help a lot to me. But what makes an album the
best in my book is the moments I feel something when I listen. It isn't
because the eighth note on the bass line is exactly out of the pocket
enough to swing the tune. It isn't because the bass line holds the
7th over the root for just enough time to make it slick-o. It's because
I get a chill when I listen to the song at that point for one reason
or another. 

Here are those moments for my first couple listens of Thornhill that
made it my favorite album almost instantly:


The first one came in Half as Much at bridge where it starts hitting
hard and together. o/~ In a year or two.. ~/o and it leads into
the guitar solo. Damn. Bass and guitar together in solo is great
and the harmonies and the driving of the kick drum in that are
great. Then they kick off the last verse minimally with only the
electric whining in the background. Wow.

Then I realized what really did it. Toms!!! There are toms on
the album. Like a real drum set toms! *grin*


The second one came in the chorus to I Will Hold On for some
reason. I dunno. The second from last chorus struck me as
sounding really deep and complete for some reason. 


Boy, the third hit quick. Earthquakes rocks! The flowing 
music makes my head start spinning when I listen to the
earphones. That's wonderful. I get a circling sensation 
listening to the whole song that just really does it for
me. I've never heard the Windsor version of this song, but
this version is incredible. I hope they can nail it live
and start showing it off in Rochester on the 10th.


I'm still in Earthquakes, head still spinning, and the last
verse kicks in with nothing but snaps, acoustic, and lyrics. Nice touch.
The moment of silence right before brings me up and when the snaps,
wrangling acoustic, and voice comes in it grabs me. 


Guitar in Splatter Splatter at the top is great. But what gets me is
the simple accordion quarter notes through out on top of the
drumming, it really keeps the whole thing grounded and solid. This
is a great song and I think it'll do really well on radio stations
if it can get there. 


Still in Splatter Splatter, Mike's overdubbed vocals on "messing up
the place" is awesome. Live he really stresses this phrase and flares
his voice up high. On the album, he sings it normally and then overdubs
the flared up vocals over it in the background, which turned out
really slick. Don Dixon, maybe? No idea, but a guy whose name on the
back is bigger than track listing has gotta be an influence on the disc.


You don't think I'm not gonna mention the bass fill after the
instrumental break in Independence Day, do you? I didn't think so. I
love the fill that leads the heavier drums back in after the
light instrumental portion. The strummed electric is a little high in the
mix, but it can be gotten used to.


The Downsizing chorus vocals when they climb are a really nice touch.
I've liked this song since I first heard it myself and the recorded
version really appeals to me. I love Jian story songs more than
Jian sappy songs (my opinion there). I'll take Follow the Road over
Fly anyday. Well, Downsizing is very Follow the Road-y (not to be
confused with Follow the Roadie) and the vocals on this one are
worthy of the forefront the music gives them. I love how the 
piana pulls the vocals to the front while keeping the beat and
allowing the bass to play around. This is a great example of 
how the group's musical orchestration around the song has gotten
a lot better as time has gone on. This is the Nuits De Reve of
Thornhill to me and keeps me with chills through most of the 
song like Nuits De Reve does (and I know what the lyrics are saying
on this one *Grin*).


Still in Downsizing and most people are probably thinking "Boy this
song is too long" and I'm still captivated by it. They repeat the
same line over and over again and each time it's still got me. They
stress each word in it and it's perfect to me. And then the birdies
bring in Hate Letter *Grin*


Hate Letter!! Boy, oh boy. You Dave vocal fans must be eating this
one up. Dave sounds great. What grabs me about this one is Dave's
pickups into the verses. o/~ There was a perfume on the breeze ~/o,
o/~ Sometime you have to wonder why ~/o. Those parts get me each time.
My head has the bass doubling it, but that's a problem me and my head
are gonna have to work through together.


Okay, I'm still in Hate Letter and Dave sings some of Half as Much in
the background and I just have to smile and wonder what the heck else
is going on in the background. You know I'm just waiting for someone a 
little crazier than me to crank it up, pan all the way to the left, and 
start decipher what's being said in the background.


Still in Hate Letter, there's some damn fine bass work. Listen to it
and get back to me, ok?


Okay, still in Hate Letter (I had never heard this before so I 
was eatting it up). Lyrics, oh man. o/~ Satan in satin slippers,
Christ on a crooked crutch ~/o. 


If Only You Knew, I absolutely adore the lines o/~ An old troubadour
on the street that night plays for our passing change. On a fiddle
in G on a melody mysterious and strange ~/o. The moment that got
me is the word Troubadour which Mike says perfectly. It's almost
Flansburghian when he puts that many syllables into the space.
Mike writes love songs the way I like love songs, I guess. This song
my favorite of them, even better than Doorstep.


Finally, My Poor Generation. The chosen closer to this great album.
Overdubbed vocals in this song are used really well, but the moment
I feel this song and what it means is the o/~ Lost in Union Station ~/o
line. I can feel Dave when he sings that. This song is my favorite
Fruvous song now, and that's saying a lot. Before I couldn't say I
had one of those, now I do. The whole package, the drums (with toms
again in fills *grin*), the bass part, the guitar work, the vocal
and the meaning and feeling make this song the top of my list. It's
almost an anthem and I get the same feelings I get hearing some of
Credence Clearwater Revival's songs. I can only hope that song gets 
what it deserves.

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