Thornhill Review


Reviewed by: Fiona

From Mon Aug 30 23:16:23 1999
Subject: Another Thornhill review (That's all we need)
From: Fiona 
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 23:16:23 -0400

However I *said* I'd do it, and I'm pretty good about doing what I say,
even if I do tend to take my sweet time about it.

All those "wood" comparisons I was reading while waiting for True North
to release "Thornhill" made me rather uneasy. I still am not sure I'd
ever use the term "like" to describe my reaction to "wood". "Not
actively dislike" is usually as far as I'd go, unless we're talking
about *live*. I wasn't happy about the notion of relating to the most
anticipated album of the year that way.

Fortunately I have only the foggiest notion of where people got the idea
"Thornhill" was "wood: the second coming". (I have even less than the
foggiest notion of why people worship "wood" anyway, so that kind of
makes sense.) If I *had* to compare it to a Früvous album, I'd say it
was "Bargainville", all grown-up. But it's not "wood", it's not
"Bargainville", it's *certainly* not YWGTTM - it's "Thornhill". And what
a lovely album it is.

I'm in love with this album. Not ecstatically bouncing-up-and-down WOW
in love, just quietly, deeply, reflectively in love. It's like a very
very good friend - the one you can't believe you only met a year ago.
"Thornhill" is what I never thought Moxy Früvous could be - subtle.
There's gentle humour, and hidden irony. There's a surface simplicity 
which is really deceptive. 

When She Talks is a great example of this, but I'd rather not spend 5000
words on this review so I'll use Earthquakes. It's the most overtly
spiritual song I've heard from Früvous, but unless one is really in the
mood to ask the very simple question "Who's "he"?" it's just a slightly
goofy song about keeping things in perspective and stopping to smell the
roses.  Musically speaking (and I really have no business speaking about
this side of it but anyway) it's one of those that has to be "dumbed
down" to be played onstage, yet I can't help but visualize Dave
wandering around the crowd with a hat in his hand as he's singing.  

Favourite song? Despite the fact that I love every single song for
different reasons, I'd have to say "Downsizing". I've always been fond
of Früvous' political songs, and this is a masterpiece. I could probably
listen to it all day.  

That said, "Too Careful" is a song that's keeping me sane. I'm going to
have to play it a lot over the next couple of months to get myself back
into the headspace I lost sometime during university. F*ck the real
world, I have things that need doing or I'll end up taking a permanent
job at this bank. 

And Independence Day... they need to do a video for this song, it's so
intensely visual, which is something I love in a song. 

Hate Letter. I was so glad there was one song on the album I'd never
heard before.  I can't say it rocks, because it's not a rocking song. I
love the layers, the humour, the style... if they ever play this live I
want to be there. Who do I bribe and with what?

"Sad Girl" is a social commentary that the people at whom it's directed
won't listen to, but it might just get the little ones to stay away from
that kind of thinking. I hear it every time I see one of those "Gap" ads
- especially the subway posters. As for Jian's comment about his
vocals.. a smooth, polished lead vocal would be totally wrong for this
song. It's a criticism of the in people, the people who subscribe to
media culture, the ads.. the smooth, polished images and the vocal on
the album just emphasizes that. 

The only song I skip on this album is "If Only". It's a Mike song, and
will always be a Mike song in my mind. I mind the backing vocals. I mind
the drums, I *very much* mind the keyboard. The clapping hands and
tambourine are enough to make me scream. Did I mention the backing
vocals? Rationally speaking, I suppose it's a decent song, and
considering the very strong fan reaction to it, I can see why Früvous
wanted it on the CD, but I will always prefer the stark, raw emotion
which the song drew when Mike stood up on the stage alone with his
guitar and dedicated it to his "beloved".

Other than that, I wouldn't change anything about this album. In my mind
"Thornhill" does draw on everything Früvous has ever done, as well as
probably the vast majority of what they've listened to. It's a very
complete album, and I hope it earns them the success they deserve.  

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