My ride-or-die best friend is due with her first baby today. I took the next couple of days off just to be on call for when it happens and for whatever she may need. I talked to her this morning and she’s doing great but the baby is not quite ready to come out yet which means I am at home for the night with no plans other than a cozy dinner and a stack of CDs that have been sitting on my desk for literal years. Although some of these have been sitting here for ever, I always says, if it’s new to me, it’s new to some of you so lets dig into this unsteady stack and see if we can’t clean up my desk a bit while also getting hooked to some amazing music.
It feels almost fitting that the first record I chose out of my stack was Thomas Abban’s ‘Deep Winter’. I know it’s not winter yet but there’s a nip in the air that is signaling the beginning of the end to what is a Twin Cities fall season.
‘Deep Winter’ starts with “Winter”. It starts off slow and steady with a sense of ambiance and atmospheric elegance behind the intro before a larger-than-life and orchestral sound takes over. Dynamic drums with sliding notes give way to Thomas’ beautiful voice. It’s soulful and smooth but there’s this sense of darkness that comes with every word. It’s subtle and is masked in the comforting nature of his voice but it’s there and adds a depth to this opening track that so easily draws you in. This track takes its time with rises and falls in an unconventional way creating a sense of suspense throughout the song that keeps you on your toes.
That suspense continues into “Getting Over Me” but it changes form. The suspense in this song comes from the airy nature of the track. Thomas still takes his time with every word and note but there’s something hushed about this song that I could not get enough of. You can hear Thomas’ voice break during certain songs in a powerfully emotional way. This is a bare bones kind of track when it comes to the instrumentation but, no need to fear, the power of Thomas’ voice fills the void making this feel like a much more energetic track than it actually is.
“Truly Loved you” is the ballad I had been waiting for. I know we are only on the third track of this five-song EP but Thomas’ voice and style begs for a ballad and that’s what you get on this one– but with a twist. There’s heartbreak in this track, like the previous ones, that would point towards an anti-ballad but the beauty that comes through throughout this two minute and eleven second song is monumental. The words are so heartfelt and so full of love that I can’t think of a better word other than “ballad” to describe this beautiful piece of art. Again, Thomas’ vocals take the reigns for this track leaving the instrumentation to be nothing more than enhancement. Even when that instrumentation soars and the vocals turn more into just “oh’s” and “ah’s”, there’s still something commanding and powerful about the vocals.
Listening to the emotional power that is “Truly Loved you” is more than enough to push you to the edge of an emotional breakdown but Thomas is there to catch you with “Judas”. I was getting huge Prince vibes from this track which, I know, is a bit of a cop-out being that Thomas is from Minneapolis and, well, we all worship Prince up here but, really, it’s a very clear influence. That being said, Thomas’ unique presentation of music continues to weigh heavy throughout this track keeping it from feeling like a straight-up tribute styled track. Skin-crawling harmonies are one of the many highlights of this epic song.
Closing out this ridiculously beautiful album is “Man”. Much like the way this EP began, this final track starts with a sense of ambiance and calm before Thomas takes the track and runs with it. Stylistically, this one relates back to the almost hushed vibe of “Getting Over Me” but comes with a slightly stronger sense of power. This track is a powerful and euphoric one that ends this gorgeous journey so perfectly while leaving you wanting more of the comfort and coziness that is Thomas Abban.
I know it’s not winter yet but I am glad I checked this album out when I did. ‘Deep Winter’ is going to be one of those albums that will surely keep me warm this winter and I already can’t wait for it.
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