Alive Naturalsound Records

Independent record label based in LA. Home to The Black Keys, Two Gallants, Buffalo Killers, Radio Moscow, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Hacienda, John The Conqueror, Brian Olive, Black Diamond Heavies, Left Lane Cruiser, T-Model Ford, Thomas Function, Waves Of Fury, etc. More at

Friday, March 28, 2008

THOMAS FUNCTION - All Music Guide, Daily Texan

Thomas Function is an odd name for a band, but there again, this is a pretty peculiar group. The garage band hail from (sweet home) Alabama, and their ebullient take on the '60s is shot through with southern sensibility, from C&W to bluegrass, R&B to the blues. On the exuberant Celebration!, TF don't so much careen across genres as swagger, secure in their sound and the knowledge of the effect it's had on audiences across the country. Many of the songs here fit rather neatly into genres, like the C&W "2012 Blues," the bluegrass hoedown of "Relentless Machines," the psych styling of "Filthy Flowers" and "Can't Say No," the driving R&B of "A Long Walk" or the "Earthworms"'s blues. However, even these numbers aren't quite as straight-forward as they initially seem, for each is tinged with a touch of other sounds and styles. "Snake in the Grass," for example, is a musical homage to The Buzzcocks, but swishes psychedelic organ into the mix. "Conspiracy of Praise" is reminiscent of the Violent Femmes or even The White Stripes, but also boasts a psychedelic organ break, a western flavor, and a guitar solo beholden to the Rolling Stones. By the time listeners get to "Swimming through a Sea of Broken Glass," most will have given up even trying to identify all the elements within -- in "Sea"'s case, punky C&W, mixed with bluegrass, as alternately played by Simple Minds and the Velvet Underground. And its here that TF reach their greatest heights, punching through a pile of musical envelopes and into a dizzying sound all their own. Celebration! is filled with many such inspired moments, and without a dull second within. The album bristles with energy, the songs are studded with strong melodies and grand hooks, while the lyrics are much more thoughtful and downbeat than one would expect. All in all a lethal combination. ~ Jo-Ann Greene / All Music Guide

Though it is a part of the current wave of garage bands, Thomas Function is essentially a pop outfit, focusing on vocal hooks and shouted choruses, and it has the crisp production to support it. The presence of some older material on this, the band's first full-length album, turns out to be a blessing, as the keyboards and horns on songs like "Can't Say No" and "Relentless Machines" benefit from the record's clear, vibrant production. The latter gradually builds up from a deftly strummed guitar and rapid-fire lyrics about the presence of technology in modern life into a driving pop anthem. The song is centered on the interplay between repetitious, galloping drums, wavering keyboards and soaring vocals, making it tower over the rest of the album. With a greater focus on musicianship, lyrics and just plain audibility, Celebration catapults the Thomas Function far above its garage rock peers. ~ Ben Cox / Daily Texan

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