Of course they must, Thomas, and for as long as it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday to You’ (both verses) according to the UK’s ex Prime Minister, who then went and got Covid anyway.
Readers might remember Vinyl Floor, a duo of Thomas and his brother Daniel, whom we featured last September, along with their progressive rock sound on their album ‘Funhouse Mirror’, one which also manages to embrace a little Brit Pop, punk and jazz as well.
So what to expect from one half of that duo, with his third solo album? It’s interesting that he bills his solo persona as “Folk/singer-songwriter/indie/chamber folk” which does vary somewhat from Vinyl Floor.
The brothers wrote a lot of new music between them during the lockdowns and on account of a studio session being postponed for five months. Accordingly this album was recorded instead, and in addition to ‘Funhouse Mirror’ and Thomas says that explains how this is “the other side of the ‘Funhouse Mirror’ sessions – a quieter and more introverted and reflective album.”
Yin and Yang. Salt and pepper. Black and white. Biden and Trump. Covid and vaccine You get the idea.
These lads are deep thinkers, make no mistake about it. Thomas says, “Some of these songs deal with Man’s relationship with God and God ́s relationship with Man. Who has abandoned who? Is there any faith or spirituality left? They also deal with isolation, self-doubt and all of the other stuff on my mind during the strange time that was Covid lockdown. It feels like the right choice to finally release these songs since they reflect a certain period–at least for me-and they gave me hope when I wrote them.”
Thomas recommended ‘Rains on Saturn’ to me so I guess it means something really special to him.
Of all the pandemic-generated output I’ve heard over the last few years (and much of it has fizzled out now like the disease [we hope]), this is probably the most impressive.
The song appears to transpose the pandemic and its arcane mechanisms into an interplanetary setting but not before establishing the battle of wills which must have impacted most people, the ‘streams of consciousness’ being invaded by the ‘dreams of loneliness’ that make that consciousness ‘spin.’
It concludes with a message of hope:
“You may prevail in your zeal for new horizons/but the sky you had was clear and when it rained, it rained diamonds
Drought for forty days, for golden times you yearn/just like when it rains on Saturn.”
Or so it seems…
(I’m not sure of the rain on Saturn allegory; I’ll have to check with an astronomer about that although I do know that it actually rains diamonds there!)
In between, there is a deep philosophical treatise which starts with the launch of a spacecraft (complete with a ‘Saturn 5’ countdown) and the implication of ‘In God we Trust’ and ends with a critique of a romp in the Garden of Eden, forbidden apples and original sin.
It’s part 2001 – A Space Odyssey, and part Space Oddity.
What it all means is lost on me but I suppose that’s the point. These are the private thoughts of a private person with a vivid imagination, incarcerated by a bastard form of ‘nature’ for longer than anyone should ever expect to be. It reminds me of a well-known Danish artist who was very badly affected by the pandemic, both personally and practically (by way of a cancelled piece of new multimedia work which was never performed) and whose lengthy online absence brought about deep concerns for her wellbeing.
How quickly those days are forgotten as the frenetic world picks up pace again.
Musically, it’s presented in a chamber folk style on piano with a simple structure until a full orchestral string section joins the fray at the end. The contrast compliments the lyrical ones.
‘Rains on Saturn’ isn’t an easy listen and you won’t be pushing your trolley around the supermarket to it anytime soon. It demands your complete attention but rewards you accordingly and I’m sure the rest of the 15-track album will do exactly the same.
I have to mention a funny line, “forward in reverse”. A well-known British comedian once said that that was the motto of my home town – “Going forward in reverse”, which was both funny and a spot-on observation. Thanks for the memory.
The album will be released on April 14th 2023 on Vinyl Floor’s Karmanian Records.
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