Gary Thomas – Wooden Boxes and Thought Huntingby Nathan Zeno / 28.08.2009
There is a certain malevolence in Gary Thomas’ voice. At his live shows this is undercut by his self-deprecation but when listening to WB&TH the subtle menace has free reign. I would hesitate to call Thomas a folk singer, an alt. folk or even an anti-folk singer, if any definition exists for what he does with his stomp box, acoustic guitar and reverb it might be urFolk. He does not use song to tell a story but rather to outlay an emotional underpinning to a possible story.
Thomas does not sing, so much as wring out his words, that sometimes sound less like words and more like the moans of desire in a hallway. Coupled with an almost cyclical acoustic style the overall effect of WB&TH is that of an unsettling daydream, but with some bright running through fields bits in-between.
“Mockery Of Wine” instantly displays Thomas’s technical skill and then quickly shows that he possesses more than mere skill. “In Case Of Paranoia” has that words-coming-from-the-void feeling, a human unforced feeling of melancholy. But while Thomas never even flirts with so much as a chorus, WB&TH is not all down in the metaphorical dumps, “Holes” is imbued with a lighter feeling, cheery by Thomas’s standards and the acoustic only “Aurora Glow” is a textured landscape for contemplation.
Wooden Boxes and Thought Hunting is not the kind of record you get your teenage niece for Christmas, unless she’s a Marrisa Nadler fan, but it’s not one of those noodling acoustic technical displays either (not discounting that he is armed with mastery), it lives in a slightly uncomfortable ground, but not too uncomfortable, it gets under your skin and then relaxes, like some kind of forgotten unresolved emotion.
Gary Thomas is currently on tour – details here.
And to order Wooden Boxes & Thought Hunting for R110 email firstname.lastname@example.org