Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Reviews:: Thomas/Richard - & Harold

If you know me, you'll know that I'm one of those people who pretty much lives their life according to the wisdom provided by antiquated sayings like "the early bird gets the worm", "a penny saved is a penny earned", and "a stitch in time saves nine" (wait, scratch that last one, that just sounds like nonsense). Another one of these gems is "Never trust a man with two first names", wait, maybe that's actually a cheap joke from Talladega Nights. Regardless of where it's from, I'm beginning to doubt it's accuracy, thanks to one man:


Now granted Thomas/Richard is actually a combination of Richard Lann's first and middle names, but it's not that technicality that's poking holes in what appears to be an otherwise foolproof theory, but rather the utter sincerity with which Thomas/Richard delivers every note on his new EP & Harold. If anything, listening to T/R gives you the impression that he's extremely trustworthy and is also likely to place too much trust in others, thus opening himself up to all types of heartbreaks.

But never fear, as on his previous release, The Promises We Make, T/R has surrounded himself with plenty of music-making friends, so I don't think there's any need to fear that he'll be lonely. Opener Sleepless Nights finds a number of those friends joining him to beef up this lovely drums & uptempo guitar-led track with some group vocals and instrument assistance (Trevor Murphy who mans the bass, is not only T/R's bandmate in Quiet Parade, but he's also in rotating Halifax ensemble Sleepless Nights! It's like six degrees of K. Bacon, only without K. Bacon, or, I guess, like 5 of the degrees). Jon McKiel pitches in with some vocal assistance, on what I think is my favorite song on the album, Golden Halo. It's a heartfelt, us vs. the world kind of love song, which finds T/R comparing love to a halo that will protect he and his love from "trust fund hippie kids", among other things. If one could buy insurance to provide that kind of protection, I would seriously consider buying some.

When All Dressed Up came on as I was going through this album the first time, I was sure I'd heard it on his last album, but when I went back to check, that was not the case. Turns out, I had heard it before, but on The Gooseberry Thrush Hermit tribute album. As I said of the song in that review "Thomas/Richard does a rather vulnerable version of Smart Bomb's All Dressed Up which is not the kind of sound one thinks of when the hermit is concerned, but I think it works quite well." Indeed. & Harold has a number of mini-songs (sub one minute) on it, but (this is a good place to be) is like the meeting of those mini songs and the regular ones, with some church-like organs being added to T/R's familiar acoustic strum.

Because of those mini-songs, & Harold breezes by at a zippy fifteen minutes, and I have to wonder if Thomas/Richard might expand those songs for a future release. Either way, & Harold is very enjoyable as is, and it will undoubtedly please those who enjoyed T/R's last album, and serve as an excellent introduction to those who are new to this multi-talented Haligonian (he's also known in Halifax for his photographic work that documents the music scene here). Unless I'm mistaken, this album will be out in May, so get yourself one once Spring has sprung.

Posted at 3:25 PM by naedoo :: 1 comments

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At 6:09 PM, Anonymous Waye Mason did sayeth:

What a great record, superficially breezy but you know, hidden depths. Lovely.


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