Saturday, August 7, 2010

Themes - War Over the Great Plains (2007)

All right, consider me back in action for a while. Summer is winding down, but the fall semester is on the horizon, so updates may dwindle in the coming weeks. Nevertheless, I enjoy writing these little diddys too much to pull myself away.

And GOOD NEWS: I managed to score a great low-end Sony turntable to replace my RCA warhorse that lasted me a decade. So, expect some new tunes from my record collection soon!

This one goes back to 2007, which wouldn't seem so long ago if I could remember half of it. I'm glad I kept this particular show's flyer because otherwise my photographic memory wouldn't be working overtime as I type this. I picked up this CD when I saw Themes at an Apgar House show in Oakland that year, a pitstop on what I assume was the band's first west coast tour. My friends and I arrived quite late but managed to catch half of Themes' set, the likes of which we could hear down the block; a very loud, eclectic band and sound, with two brilliant voices on top. What we saw was enough for us to hassle the vocalist and baritone guitarist (!) Jacy McIntosh for a copy of their album, War Over the Great Plains.

(Despite the omission, Loma Prieta also played this show. They were a three-piece at the time, and I believe that their EP had just come out.)

The album is about an hour long and rife with melancholy imagery and historical influence; very effective lyrics, too. War Over the Great Plains is truly all over the place: from creepy to longing, from psychotic to complacent, but absolutely beautiful and calculated 100% of the time. Some songs seem a little off in first half of the "sit down" (as the vocalist lovingly referred to the album as, if I'm not mistaken) but their already unstable foundations may be to blame for that. The songs switch off between piano and baritone guitar driven folk-influenced rock tunes, which is an interesting combination in itself. Haven't heard much like this band, although at moments throughout the album I am vaguely reminded of Black Heart Procession, as well as their friends The New Trust, due to similar emotions and themes (no pun intended.) I must say, though, the occasionally uncomfortable dual vocals of Jacy McIntosh and Kelsey Crawford are mostly what do it for me - honestly, what a pair these two make!

Per the artists' request, the links to this album have been removed.

Themes - MySpace

No comments: