Thomas Function Celebration! available on CD, Vinyl & Digital

Celebration!
Celebration!
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Thomas Function – photo by Patrick Boissel

THOMAS FUNCTION Celebration! PRESS

Instantly infectious melodies, buttery fat organ sounds, tambourine infused beats and from Alabama of all places? Thomas Function should have the world at their feet very soon with debut album Celebration!. Beaming with the confidence of a junkie troubadour with nothing to lose, lead singer Joshua Macero channels the spirits of Jonathan Richmond and Richard Hell. The band backs him with the energetic minimalism of kiwi rockers The Clean, but with an intensity seldom seen since the “hey days” of Violent Femmes and The Pixies. Celebration! does not let up. From honkey-tonkers to speed freaked-out rockers, Thomas Function blend all the aspects of what a new band can get themselves into while in the garage. When listening, you really can visualize the group hacking it out in the Alabama heat giving each other unabashed looks of approval and high fives. There’s nothing throwback here at all. The song writing is far too strong to make a jaded comparison. "Can’t Say No" plays like a kid bouncing in one those inflatable back yard party contraptions. The Hammond organs are as sweet as sunshine playing against this powerful yet simple little masterpiece. – Joel Roth / Heave Media
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With the release of their debut LP, Celebration, on Alive/Natural Sounds, Thomas Function have been steadily building a name for themselves in garage and punk circles. The Huntsville, Alabama-based band, however, doesn’t stand very firmly under either of those genre umbrellas. Instead, their supremely hummable, lodged-in-the-brain melodies join with crisp jangly guitars and bouncy rhythms to create some of the finest pop-rock coming out today. Being from the Deep South, the occasional roots style does crop up here and there, but Thomas Function certainly aren’t making your daddy’s Southern rock. Throw a certain beer-bash attitude into the mix, and what you get is a band that is so fun, yet so smart in their songwriting you almost don’t know what do with them. – Dusted
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In no way whatsoever do I claim to be an aficionado of punk rock music. (The bulk of my knowledge of the genre comes from the No Thanks! box set that came out a few years ago.) But I’d like to think that I know good music when I hear it. And this, the debut album from a group of young punks from Alabama (yes, Alabama) called Thomas Function is, indeed, good music. Bringing together the best qualities of ’70s punk and new wave, these guys produce a sound similar to that of other current acts like Modest Mouse, but with a more stripped-down, lighthearted taste to it. Really, they remind me more of some of the originals of the genre, such as Nick Lowe, the Buzzcocks, and even Television — artists who didn’t just play typical thrash-and-burn punk, but added subtle touches and put their own unique stamp on the music. You could see touches of country, or soul, or funk, as well, depending on the band; but at their core, they were just playing solid rock n’ roll. Another point: You must admit that it takes some stones to play acoustic guitar on a punk album, but that’s exactly what Thomas Function’s lead singer and guitarist Joshua Macero does throughout on Celebration! And you definitely need guts to play any music that’s this good at such a young age. The lads of Thomas Function are already receiving a wealth of great reviews from indie press throughout the country, but it will be interesting to see how (and if) more mainstream media latches on to this fantastic band. If not, at least you’ll be able to say you heard about them early on, and had the opportunity to let their sound take you in. And you’ll be able to say you enjoyed every minute of this incredible record. Immensely. – Dave Bond / NONzine
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Gleaning multiple genre elements into one hotpot full of vigorous indie rock, Celebration is energetic, twangy and, well, bitchin’! Thomas Function use standard rock equipment: bass, drums, guitars and, uh, gospel organ Casios, but the band is anything but standard. Part of that has to do with lead vocals that sound like they have stretched out and sun baked to into a screechy reddened madness yet still manages to somehow be catchy. The vocals are definitely the most unique instrument here, but even they have their comparisons (at points on “Conspiracy of Praise” he sounds distinctly like Danielson). So it’s just ‘indie rock’ right? Not quite. Celebration is special and I’m not talking short bus special – actually, I kind of am. There is something that is simultaneously awesome and retarded about Thomas Function that makes it more than your average indie rock… much more. It’s ADHD Midwestern indie rock on acid and quite a refreshing trip in comparison to standard bands of its ilk. – Mr. Thistle / Forest Gospel
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Since the release of Celebration has already brought hundreds of comparisons to artists such Television, The Violent Femmes, and The Buzzcocks, it makes sense that the album is comprised of material that sounds somewhat familiar despite being backed by exceptionally original songwriting. In a track like “Can’t Say No”, where a Pixies-like bass line is adjusted accordingly over an organ-led guitar progression that brings visions of classic Television and Velvet Underground to the forefront, it almost makes for a colossal fusion of great indie-rock and punk bands who have made a significant mark in the past 30 years. The infectious “Can’t Say No” may be too hectic to make such past comparisons entirely spot-on, but the melodically charged energy that Macero’s vocals convey makes the mixture of modernistic enthusiasm with past forms of punk and garage-rock a very satisfying blend. As for fans of The Buzzcocks or even Wire, one listen of “Snake in the Grass” should be convincing enough. Alongside “Conspiracy of Praise” and “A Long Walk”, it employs a concisely familiar form of catchy punk without being overly aggressive or manipulative in the process. With the rhythm section constantly impressing me with its tight coordination, the excellent guitar work making the comparisons to Television even possible, and Macero’s vocals being a constant source of hooks and youthful vibrancy, Celebration packs a very powerful punch that should have fans and critics alike seriously considering it for the title of this year’s most satisfying debut. – Obscure Sound
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In the past week I’ve gotten about 20 new LPs, half as many 7"s and a handful of CDs and haven’t listen to any of them because I can’t stop playing this CD. I play it on every car trip and listen to it when I’m messing around on the computer. When my stereo isn’t playing one of it’s many great songs, my head is. It’s easily one of the most infectious records released in quite some time.
Thomas Function are based in Alabama and while their singles hinted at brilliance I really had no idea what I was getting into when I first spun this disc, their debut full-length. The album’s songs meander through different textures and genres like you’re flipping through an amazing record collection: TF channels the best bits from the best records of the past 40 years and seamlessly integrates each throughout the course of ‘Celebration’s 42 minute. At this point I’ve spent hours with ‘Celebration’ and it’s quite simply a perfect pop record. – The Sailor Jerry
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"Celebration" sounds as though it was doused in bleach, rinsed in hot water, buffed and shined – it’s clean as can be. The guitars are pure and fat, heating up the songs with the warmth and precision of sizzling humbuckers running through cool vintage tube amps. The cymbal-crashes and snare-hits are as sharp and clear as diamonds and that old Hammond organ lays the foundation for its glowing wall of sound. Lead vocalist Josh’s voice is, at times, bizarrely androgynous, yet his vocal affectations and melodies are subtly endearing and often provide the hook, line and sinker that makes "Celebration" so infinitely re-listenable. – Alex Gabriel / Pulse
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“In the asshole of the gutter I have found a little peace, I open up my mouth and try to sing myself to sleep.”
Most of the reviews I’ve seen call Thomas Function punk, but I don’t see it. Maybe it’s that howling dog-with-its-tail-trapped-under-a-rocking-chair southern accent in their first track, or maybe it’s the rolling, cymbol-heavy drums I hear in half of Celebration, but I’m not finding more than 45% punk here. Of course, I could be biased – they’re from Huntsville, Alabama after all. Still, 45% punk, 50% rock, and 5% psychedelia sounds pretty great when you beat it all together hard enough (…) Thomas Function is completely awesome, and every track of Celebration is the best track ever. – Have You Heard
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Thomas Function is a band from Alabama that rocks that classic punk sound in a pretty cheerful way. But, you know, they rock it like the days before punk just meant distortion and a quick three-minutes. They rock it like the glory days when punk also meant taking your time with some fun guitar jingle-jangle. Therefore, Thomas Function have received several comparisons to Television — in addition to similar sounding melodies, singer Josh Macero’s voice sounds a little Tom Verlaine-y (meets Danielson) at times – but they’re not just rocking Marquee Moon up there. These guys are adding their own southern boozy and bluesy flair, complete with tricked-out organ riffs and epic tambourine jams. – Oh My Rockness
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On "Celebration," Thomas Function’s debut album, the band turns up their broken, old amps and rocks out without a care in the world. Just to clarify, this is a band, not a person, and there is no one with the first name "Thomas" or the last name "Function" in this band. But all you really have to do is listen to the first few songs to figure all of that out. The sweat and energy that went into this record is evident from the beginning. "Can’t Say No," the second track and catchiest, by far, sounds like a throwback, ’70s-era Buzzcocks song while others, such as "Swimming Through a Sea of Broken Glass" sound like tributes to the Exploding Hearts. This is powerpop with a capital "P" and the band members don’t seem to plan on making any apologies for their simple and predictable song structures. "Can’t Say No" is an absolutely infectious, organ-laced song that will demand repeated listens. It serves as a nice, lighthearted introduction to the band and this album. The jumpy, rising and falling bass acts as a perfect backdrop to the driving power-chords banged out by the guitarist. A short bass interlude that is quickly joined by a tambourine and an organ dives straight into the final chorus that ends the song with a crash (…) The production of the record is just as essential as the vocals to the band’s sound. It isn’t glossed over and honey-coated like the Strokes’ latest. What was performed is what is there, and no studio wizardry was necessary to turn in a top-notch album. Hopefully Macero and company will continue to do things the old-fashioned way in the future. – Chase Harrison / The Hawk
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What’s your function, Thomas Function? Is it to write amazing songs like "Peanut Butter and Paranoia Jam"? If so, Thomas Function from Alabama, then I am your newest and biggest fan. I do have more questions for you though. How is it that your glam-stomping, garage-rock anthem is not being drooled over on every major music blog known to man? Seriously, the sound of the song’s hook and it’s lyrics, "We don’t just laugh last, we hope you die," make the hairs on the back of my neck stand straight up. Do you cast spells and sacrifice virgins on the rock and roll altar? Ah, you’ll never reveal your secrets will you? Nevertheless, I’ll keep on listening…and loving! – The Walrus
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Without a second thought, nothing from the sleepy burg of Huntsville, AL has put me into zero gravity since my adolescent NASA Space Camp experiences quite like Celebration, the debut album from the city’s garage-pop overlords Thomas Function. Mellifluously mixing genres like country, R&B, psychedelia and blues underneath a sheen of jangly pop, Thomas Function has crafted a stunning collection of epic, memorable pop that builds up to a stunning release. – Scott Reid / Flagpole
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Let the celebrations begin! Thomas Function is an Alabama band that wants you to know that it’s okay to love blues, country, hillybilly, punk and garage rock—and combine all of them at once. The group, led by Joshua Macero, offer up a wide-reaching array of styles that rarely sound like the band is reaching for something they can’t fully grasp. Whether it’s the lean rockabilly-leaning rocker “Filthy Flower”, The group also sound ready to cut a rug with “Can’t Say No”, a retro-rock tune that has plenty of boogie in it. Even when they go down a far quirkier path as is the case with “Conspiracy of Praise”, one gets the sense the only thing separating them from the Soundtrack of Our Lives is a beard, tambourine and tunic. Thomas Function also functions perfectly on the urgent, passionate “Snake in the Grass” which comes up and bites one in the ass. It’s hard not to enjoy this album as there’s a surprise around every corner, especially on the slow, country-tinged “2012 Blues” and the rambling and rollicking “Relentless Machines”. Too much good music here to praise! And if you need more proof, take a listen or nine to “Swimming Through a Sea of Broken Glass”. This is a record that would put more woogie in your boogie, without question. – Jason MacNeil / PopMatters
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"Celebration" is the perfect name for this debut full-length from Thomas Function. Basically, it is forty minutes of nothing but pure rock & roll fun. The Huntsville, Alabama group write fast-paced songs that feature catchy vocal hooks and shouted choruses that will have your head bopping in no time. There’s a good reason that just about every review you’ll find will contain the word ‘infectious’, the melodies seem to have no end, the production is crisp and clean, and many tracks build into a stomping climax that is hard to resist. – Covert Curiosity
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Lately I’ve been verbalizing to anyone who will listen that I think bands should only do 20 minute sets. This probably started shortly after seeing Jay Reatard, who blasted through a set of about a dozen song in about that time. I get bored easily I suppose and usually about halfway though many bands’ sets I become restless and wonder if I couldn’t be spending my time better elsewhere. But damn me if Thomas Function didn’t keep my attention for the duration. So much so, that without hesitation I plunked down $20 for their LP and both 45s they had for sale (All on colored vinyl! Take that, digital age!) despite the fact that I have about $25 in my bank account until my next payday. Hell, if that’s not a recommendation, I don’t know what is. I’ve seen the band compared to Television and the Modern Lovers but that’s really only telling half the story. They’re nowhere near as punctilious as the the former or as coy as the latter. Thomas Function play their off-kilter pop songs with an unabashed enthusiasm that’s won that them a following with the usually suspicious of anything cleaner than scuzz garage crowd. I know it’s only April but the band’s debut album Celebration is going to be hard to beat for record of the year. – The Unblinking Ear
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Vocally, Joshua Macero may recall a young Tom Verlaine, but it would take a lot more than that to start breaking out any Television-isms as most songs are built around clean guitar lines (with occasional fuzz used to great effect) and full-bodied organ and a very sensible rhythm section. The record’s pacing is fantastic with not a dud to be found. But I’ll tell you that the high point of the album is in the middle with "Relentless Machines," a track that is so good it’s scary. It really is the sort of song that most bands will never come close to matching, a total classic. This is not to poo-poo the rest of the record though because it still has many gems. Four months into 2008 and this one’s going to be very hard to beat. – DMa / Other Music
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An aptly titled upbeat, poppy, and bouncy romp through garage rock, Sixties British Invasion, and rhythm and blues. - I Rock Cleveland
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I can’t define the album. It’s one of those. It’s refreshing and new sounding – one of those records that reinvigorates your ears and brain. It’s not garage, it’s not powerpop and it’s not country. It rests somewhere in the exact middle point where all those genres float out in space and meet. No joke. You can’t pigeon-hole this thing. It’s unpigeonholeable. – Bullcity records
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Huntsville (aka Rocket City or Rock-it City or whatever), AL’s Thomas Function’s latest release, Celebration, follows a series of shorter 7″ singles that have found their way into my record collection in the past few years. Upon a first listen, it’s easy to get hooked on the infectious, fun pop rock that this band sends your way. Jangly guitars (but not too jangly) complement a strained (but not too strained) voice from lead man Josh Macero as the rest of the band follow his lead in providing an up-tempo blend of dance-able rock. Throughout the record, the synth sounds aren’t as harsh/sharp as one might expect with this kind of 150+ bpm rock; rather the synth on the record has a bright, organ-ish tone while the keys arpeggiate gracefully in the midst of punchy chords and drum hits. The punk influence is apparent in their sound as steady snare hits seem to lead most songs into driving guitar riffs and relatively simple solos. However, unlike their punk predecessors, The Thomas Function have managed to find a way to funnel their energetic underpinnings into a sophisticated sound with rich harmonies and interesting chord progressions. Macero’s voice seems to be made for the sounds that the band delivers, and his high-pitched yelps complement his guitar strums quite well. – Indie Music blog
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Celebration is the first full length release from Alabama’s genre defying Thomas Function. In every other review I have read the reviewer goes on to say they are a blend of punk, pop, R&B, garge rock and so on. Honestly, I don’t know what to call it other then kick ass, infectious rock n roll. The first thing you will notice is Joshua Macero lead vocals. It is somewhat high pitched and reminds me of the first time I listened to the Dead Kennedys and was taken back by Jello’s vocals. Think that will bother you? Think again. The next thing you notice are the clean guitar licks racing along with the song. You can’t help but dance to the groovy pop style keys that chase that clean guitar line all over the record. The production on this record is top notch, crisp and clean. – Limited Edition Vinyl
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Garage rock tunes fleshed out with elements of country, punk and just whatever else sounds like a good time. – Nickjamvendetta blog
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Celebration, Thomas Function’s debut album is one of the most fun releases I’ve come across this year. This Alabama crew built up a bit of a reputation from a couple of EPs and 7"s littered over the past year but this is the culmination of everything that early groundwork laid. Exuberant choruses, a penchant for 70′s punk vocal inflections and downright catchiness are all in Thomas Function’s corner. Mixing punk spirit with southern jangle-pop and blues into a tight squirming mess that tumbles out of your speakers in unabashed basement fervor. Coming out of Huntsville, Thomas Function’s shamble pop sounds natural and unpretentious, its the kind of earnestness that most bands can’t even begin to fake half as well, and I’d be lying if I said that this one hasn’t been stuck in my head like an old favorite for weeks. – Raven Sings The Blues
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Rock Around The Blog (Portugal) | Una Piel de Astracán (Spain) | Gonzai (France) | Planet Trash (Netherlands) | Planet Gong (France)
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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
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Joshua Macero, guitarist and vocalist for Alabama’s Thomas Function, sings in a register somewhere between whine and squeal. In contrast with Southern stereotype, he generally sounds agitated. On Celebration (Alive Naturalsound), his band’s full-length debut, Macero chirps and quivers and, mostly, the music corresponds. The quartet openly flirts with an array of genres—garage, country, old rock & roll—but the driving force seems to be tasteful ’70s punk from both sides of the Atlantic. On “A Long Walk,” the group throws guitar daggers familiarized by Television; “Snake in the Grass” has a bratty anthemic bounce akin to the Buzzcocks. (Both songs also echo Thomas Function’s West Coast contemporaries, the Old Haunts.) While these influences are uniformly thin and guitar-centered, Thomas Function places a menacing keyboard drone behind its every yelp—a sly gothic touch, burbling up from Alabama. – Jay Ruttenberg / Time Out New York
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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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This week’s essential listening comes to us in the form of the debut full-length album from Alabama’s prodigious pop stalwarts, Thomas Function, who have found the quick road to salvation through their irresistible and infectious rock ‘n roll creations. If you’d been intrigued by their odd name before, and if you somehow have managed to keep your hands off their salivating string of 7" singles over the past few years, it’s time to sit up and pay attention as the fruit of their efforts is now available in the form of this full-length album to blow your mind wide open. With a uniquely clean sound that seems almost out of place next to their usual cavorts with scuzzy underground acts, it’s kind of surprising how well they can pull off a Television-like cleanness, even for the tone-damaged sect that I find myself immersed within.One of 2007 best underground rock singles was Thomas Function’s Dusty Medical release, featuring the a-side "Relentless Machines," and it’s not a surprise to see it included here. It’s truly a defining moment for the band and it harnesses a special inner power that seems like it can overcome anything that would try and bring you down. You just can’t deny those perfectly jangling guitars that gallop along with their charmingly fucked little organ to an almost dizzying climax, and that’s what you get with this knockout band every time. And if this albums’ importance and acclaim don’t hit you within the first few songs, there’s no way to resist after "Relentless Machines" mows you over.All the other tracks effortlessly claim their own personalities, and as those distantly familiar and hair-raising melodies carry you away to pop heaven, it’s lead singer/guitarist Josh’s unusual and striking vocals that mold Thomas Function down into such a winning machine. As long as they can find a way to keep touring and releasing top notch records, they could easily blow up and rival any of the biggest bands of the current day, even on both sides of the indie/punk spectrum. Don’t miss out on Thomas Function in any way, shape, or form, and get your copy of the CD from Alive Records right HERE. – Todd Killings / Victim Of Time
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Celebration! Perhaps its your birthday, perhaps your mother’s funeral, maybe its Sunday and the flea market will be brimming with new sights and sounds and smells to soak into your skin. Whatever the occasion, uncork a four bit mickey and put on your dancing shoes, were on a mission from God to celebrate and by the looks this album the party’s already started and your late. From the swelling warble that opens “Filthy Flowers” to the funeral march that closes “Earthworms”, Thomas Function slashes and burns with a frontal lobe numbing intensity hard to come by in these dark days. The songs hiss and moan like dying machinery yet all the while wallow in a sugary sweet concoction of nostalgic melodies and lyrics that nearly hit too close to home. The vocals are achingly raw, often bursting into an organically overdriven false-setto. Its as if his vocal cords seemed to have been cut out and removed in some back alley surgery only to be skillet fried in sizzling grease and haphazardly returned to their rightful owner. The band follows suit with brooding, rumbling drums and golden splashes of tambourine keeping time like a clockwork grey, stick-to-your-ribs bass lines that reek of gasoline and the organ providing shimmering tones of optimism that dance around the rhythm like specks of blood on the walls of a grizzly murder scene. The melodies weave their way into your brain’s neurons, gripping fist tight onto your memory, bringing back flashes of heartache that leave you with hunger pangs for hard liquor and razor blades. The hits roll track after track from “I Can’t Say No” with its sing-along pop qualities to “Relentless Machine’s” stream-of-conscienceness ramblings of grief and self-pity. The intensity of “ Lights Down Low” stands at a crossroads of black and white, love and hate, despair and hope. The wave of goose bumps that will surely swell up on your skin are akin to the kind you receive in the moments before your death, whether it be among the smoking and mangled remains of a car, swinging at the end of weighted rope in your closet, or in a fetal position on the floor of your nursing home from a grease-clogged aorta. Its that last shimmer of sunlight beaming into your glistening eye, the final moment when pessimism and hope swirl in a psychedelic array of sight and sound. These songs find their way in and don’t leave, always remaining fresh and never rusting into blandness. They are the soundtrack to my twenty-first year on Earth. – Andy Myers, Andy Dale Petty, Andrew Rodney Bryant, Andrew Blake, Ray Ray Johnson, El Bajo Sexto 54267-876A
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There’s a track on this new Thomas Function album called “Relentless Machines” that’s pretty rocking. I mean, it’s bratty and anthemic and has these big and sinuous guitar lines that jive-step then accelerate and generally I really like how this thing’s been put together. It’s a hit. When I hear writing like this it makes me smile. – Cokemachineglow
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There was a time, in the ’70′s and ’80′s, when regional America threw up amazing rock ‘n’ roll bands every few months. Akron, Detroit, Seattle, Boston, Washington DC, Chappell Hill, Memphis, Dallas, the country kept turning out wayward visionaries, grounded in rock ‘n’ roll but telling singular stories. In the 21st century, media-watchers keep telling us we’re becoming more and more alike. They are completely wrong, of course, and here’s the latest piece of evidence. Thomas Function love punk rock, but they love country, blues, new wave, garage rock, and the shit happening up the street, too. It comes out sounding like a bunch of earnest, severe songs from the foothills of Huntsville, Alabama, full of anger, clarity, and bourbon. Is America on the brink of a new rock ‘n’ roll renaissance? People who snapped up their instantly OOP singles, saw one of their chaotic shows, or participated in the fervid blogging about this bunch aren’t betting against it.

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