The Songs Of Seth Thomas

Seth Thomas

Cudighi Records, 2021

http://seththomas.bandcamp.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/19/2021

A musician and illustrator out of Seattle, Seth Thomas offers us 8 songs recorded between 2011 and 2018 on this album that were tracked in various places across the planet. He brings a large casts of friends to help him flesh out the themes of friendship, alienation, love and faith, and similarities to Nick Drake or John Cale certainly aren’t a stretch. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Thomas places “Again” in the lead off position, where his warm acoustic guitar and soothing vocals are complemented by Nadine Sherman's elegant cello on the bedroom pop meets indie-rock start. The song titles starting with 'A' continues to the intimate and bare beauty of “Appear Amid”, which also hosts cello, this time by Eric Weidenhof, and Samir Gangwani's brass adds subtle but effective touches, too.

The middle of the album is where some of the best tunes reside, including the breathy, poetic “Rachel Says”, which recruits Nate Campisi's precise bass playing alongside Jon David Russell's restrained percussion. “New City”, another exceptional tune, then starts like a lullaby before building into a dreamy, orchestral influenced climate where Maija Anstine and Samantha Nelson's strings add a stirring grace to the sophisticated landscape.

Near to the end, “Jacob's Well” is a playful folksy strummer and duet with Inge Chiles that spotlights Jody Buck's proficient flute playing, while “Taxi In Cairo” initially yields a slow burner that takes help from Russell's piano prowess. “Jon's Guitar” then closes out the record and quickly evolves into a busy meshing of pop, chamber, folk and orchestral ideas that are cautiously yet playfully handled.

The primary collaborator, Jon David Russell, brings piano, organ, harpsichord, celeste, electric guitar, bass, percussion and vocals to the affair, and together with Thomas’ vision they make a splendid version of chamber-pop and indie-folk that’s got plenty of vulnerable moments while still being quite adventurous.

Rating: B+

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