Thrushes – Sun Come Undone (2006)

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As a measure of full disclosure, I should first say that I can be in no way unbiased about this band because it is fronted by one of my most perfect friends. That having been said, this is one of those truly rare friends’ bands that I would (and do) honestly listen to just cuz it’s awesome.

Thrushes fall under the special and somewhat goofy genre of shoegaze, presumably named for what introspective sensitive listeners do when enjoying said music – gaze at their shoes. But me – when I see Thrushes – I dance.

But I’ve also heard Thrushes describe their music as epic soundtracks for short films, which I think is actually the perfect characterization. Every song on Sun Come Undone is a painstakingly structured and polished piece of music. And this can probably be attributed to the perfectionist streak that runs in each of the band members – from Anna Conner’s passionate little-girl-lost vocals and lovely guitar melodies, to Casey’s deliberate and beautiful guitar, to Rachel’s steady bass lines. But what really comes through on this album for me is Matt Davis’ thoughtful, intricate, and inventive percussion. From the light tinkling of bells to the slow steady crescendo of a cymbal, his timing is impeccable and carries – for me – much of the emotion of the music. So, I was obviously disappointed when he left the band over a year ago – but he recently returned to the lineup, so that’s a relief.

The entire album is gorgeous and I recommend listening to it all the way through. But some standout songs for me include Heartbeats, which begins with a decidedly Ronnette’s Be My Baby intro, but really becomes it’s own song with the chorus of “my heart is full, full of your lo-o-o-ove” sung in only a way that Anna can. Into the Woods reminds of a song that would be in a teen independent film – I can just picture it in the scene where a girl is running away from an embarrassing mix-up that makes her truly beloved look like a monster (but don’t worry, he’ll be back to reclaim her heart later). Ghost Train is my favorite song of the album. It is super eerie to start – it actually kind of stirs up anxiety – and then it unravels into a sweet and fun little chorus of “let’s go out tonight”, which is incongruous but in a totally delightful way. Roy (which has the rare Casey-driven lyrics) is magical if only for the fact that it feels like Twin Peaks, which underneath all it’s too-shocking-for-tv weirdness had a core of love and beauty. And for me, any time that music makes you think and feel the way Thrushes do, it must be amazing.

The good news (for me) is that Thrushes are a local band that I can see often. Like tomorrow. At the Talking Head in Baltimore. Hit ’em up.

And here’s a picture of the lovely Ms. Conner jamming out at the Thrushes first show.
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