I went offline for the weekend. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever done that before. It was exhilarating and freeing but I am absolutely paying the price today. I am so far behind on everything and should be playing catch up tonight but, instead, I think I’ll check out some “new” music starting with Sore Thumb’s ‘Sounds Good’.
“The Way Things Work Around Here” kicks off this nine-song album and it instantly drew me in. Fast and furious but not chaotic or out of control, I was instantly in love with the vibe of this band. Although I’m feeling overwhelmed by everything tonight, as soon as this song kicked in, I felt the weight lift off my shoulders. It’s a little Jeff Rosenstock, a little AJJ, a hint of Vundabar, and a whole lot of rockin’ piano. Yeah, first track in and I can already tell that Sore Thumb is going to be a new favorite of mine. The opening track is quick and, before I knew it, “Cold Comfort” had taken over. Although still just as rocking, this track slows things down ever so slightly and gives you a bit more of a clear picture of this band. The vocals are almost fuzzy and retro but I wouldn’t call this band’s sound either of those things. It’s such a cool blend that I honestly don’t know how to describe it quite yet.
An epic guitar kicks off “Only One Way Out” before a staggering organ sound slides in. There are so many layers to this band that there’s no way to catch it all but that’s truly a beautiful thing. This song continues to slow things down lyrically but not instrumentally. The beat is almost at a furious pace but the vocals just seem a bit more laid back and a bit more emotionally charged than the previous tracks. This track is powerful and anthemic but like the two previous songs, and the remaining now that I look at the tracklist, it was all too short and before I knew it, “Not A Sad Song” had started playing. As the title may suggest, “Not A Sad Song” is, well, not a sad song. Like “Only One Way Out”, there’s something super powerful and anthemic about this track but there’s still no denying the emotion that comes through in the raw heart-on-your-sleeve-styled vocals that come with the song.
Who doesn’t love a little bit of whistling? That’s how “Lemurians” kicks off and it’s infectious, to say the least. Although everything about Sore Thumb is playful, this whistling just adds to that and brings an almost whimsical vibe to this fifth track. “Lemurians” is a super fun track but it was “Randy’s Band of Boys” that really caught me. There’s something almost a little folksy about this track that I wasn’t quite expecting from this band but truly appreciated. You get to see a lot of different sides of Sore Thumb throughout this album but this track really shines the spotlight on this more indie-based vibe that the band does so well. I love chaos and layers upon layers but this track just hit me perfectly tonight and was instantly a favorite of mine.
“Randy’s Band of Boys” is the longest track on this album at over four minutes long but like the previous tracks, it was done in what seemed like the blink of an eye and gave way to “Front Row Seats”. There’s an almost surf-rock vibe that comes with this track which fits nicely with its placement in this album. That being said, I found myself kind of spacing out on this track and hoping that the final two tracks would bring a bit more of an edge like the first few songs had. Although “Just a House” didn’t quite bring that edge, it did bring a very The Front Bottoms sound to my speakers that I absolutely adored. Much like The Front Bottoms, this song has vocals that probably aren’t “classically correct” but fit so well and bring so much emotion while not letting the album shift into a dark place.
Ending this album is “Coming of Age”. Although not a favorite of mine, I loved how this slower-paced track closed out the album and seemed to tie up some loose ends. There’s a bit of tenderness, a bit of danciness, and a whole lot of emotion all wrapped up in this song and it seems to take bits and pieces heard throughout the previous tracks and wrap them up in a perfect little bow. I didn’t want this album to end but I guess “Coming of Age” was a good way to lessen the blow of the end.
Sore Thumb has been on my list for some time to review and now I’m honestly just bummed that it took me so long to check it out. Their sound, although familiar at times, is so unique and all over the place stylistically. The layers throughout their songs and the emotionally charged words add a true sense of power to this album. I can’t wait to see what else this band has out there and what else they put out there in the future. I expect big things from this group.
My Favorite Track(s): “Randy’s Band of Boys”
For Fans Of: Layers; Familiar but Unique Sounds; Emotional Energy
Dance-Ability: 6 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Both cats slept upstairs
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 9 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 9.6 out of 10
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