Thornhill Review


Reviewed by: Lawrence Solomon

From Tue Aug 10 22:33:13 1999
Subject: My own Thornhill experience and review (because hey, everyone is doing it, right? :)
From: Lawrence P Solomon 
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 22:33:13 -0400

this is going to contain a song by song review, so if you don't like that sort
of thing or are from Canada or something and can't get the album for a while
you might want to skip this message.  there isn't any other content. :)

So, like so many others here, I went out this morning to buy Thornhill.  So I
went to the store and looked where they usually have Moxy Fruvous.  I see
Wood, and I see Live Noise, one copy of each.  Hmmm.  So naturally, I asked
the clerk about it, and not only did he understand exactly what I was talking
about, but said "Oh yeah, hmmm, I remember checking those in last night, I'll
find them," and found them in a *large* stack behind the counter.  So I got
it, brought it home, and listened to it for several hours non-stop... and
here's my take on the whole thing...

Overall, an excellent album.  It flows reasonably well, although I expected a
little more continuity.  There are a few transitions that just don't work well
for me (IWHO -> Earthquakes and When She Talks -> Splatter Splatter
specifically) but overall the sound is good.

I don't get what's with all the talking at the beginnings and ends of tracks. 
I mean, it's like *every track* is like It's Too Cold... I don't really mind
it, but it just seems a little gratuitous.

Liner notes... no lyrics, but that's apparently the "norm" now, given You Will
Go to the Moon and Live Noise... but no credits as to who does what on each
song, which has been done in the past... I liked that.  Sometimes it's hard to
pick out individual instruments.  (I'm especially curious about Sad Girl and
When She Talks, since they have "non-standard" live arrangements)

In keeping with what everyone has said comparing this to Wood, there is no a
capella on the album, and the instrumentation tends to be non-simple, but I
think the harmonies are still a little stronger than on Wood.

Now to the songs themselves...

Half as Much.  It's really growing on me.  I first heard it in King of Prussia
last summer, and found that it didn't do much for me.  I'm beginning to really
like it now.

Sad Girl.  Very Beatlesque, indeed.  In fact, the whole album is... I'm
surprised they're all wearing their shoes in the back cover photo. :)

Too Careful.  I can finally hear the harmonica!  The live version always
seemed over-instrumentated to me, with two guitars *and* the harmonica, and I
usually couldn't hear the harmonica over the electric guitar.  But they mixed
it very well for the album and I've always liked the song.  Right now it's
rotating with Independence Day for the song currently stuck in my head.

I Will Hold On.  I love this one for about the same reason as I love
Misplaced.  It's complex, yet simple, and it conveys a huge amount of
emotion.  I think it also has a lot of radio potential.  Then again, if they
hadn't added the drum track, it might not... go figure.

Earthquakes.  I'd never heard it before today, but, wow... this is one great
song.  Some of the odd sounds in it remind me of Sad Today, even.  A very well
constructed song.

When She Talks.  Another emotion heavy song.  Perhaps the most similar to its
live version of all the songs on the album, too.

Splatter Splatter.  I finally know what everyone's been talking about! 
Definitely reminiscent of Video Bargainville, in a lot more ways than just the
vocal style... the instrumental arrrangement is similar, and the drum track...
whoa... I've seen it performed several times, but I don't remember Jian being
quite *that* animated at the drums.  I'll have to watch carefully next time.

Independence Day.  Another one similar to the live version, but I think this
one comes across a little better.  Like in the earlier thread about live
transitions, I think this one is hard to place in a live show, but it works
great on an album, especially this album.

Downsizing.  Long, but the good kind of long.  Like Nuits de Reve kind of
long.  Longer, actually.  But it doesn't really feel long.  The
instrumentation is good, but I do need to listen to it a few more times to
understand all of it.  (been listening on my computer and only paying half
attention to it)

Hate Letter.  This reminds me of some song from the 50s or 60s that I used to
hear all the time on the oldies stations, but I can't remember the name of the
song, or who sang it.  I hope someone else is reminded of the same thing so
they can tell me what I'm thinking of. :)

If Only You Knew.  Another one I hadn't heard very much before, but again,
it's great.  Again, it seems to fit into the overall feel of the album, too. 
And, despite a "trite" sounding title and catch line, the lyrics are really
good.  I'd say as Mike's songs go, this one ranks right up there with On Her

My Poor Generation.  A very good closer, and apparently a good show closer,
too.  I don't know what else to say about it, other than it's a really good
song to listen to...

phew.  that was long.  :)

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