thank you: terrible two

Baltimore’s Thank You are made up of Jeffrey McGrath (vocals, guitar, organ, samples), Michael Bouzoukis (vocals, guitar, organ, bass), and Elke Wardlaw (vocals, drums, percussion). They are a part of a Baltimore “scene”. They have had music released on WildfireWildfire Records, home to releases by Dan Deacon and Santa Dads, and all three have been involved in other Baltimore bands - Michael was a member of More Dogs, and Elke and Jeff were in the band Practice Finger. If all that wasn’t enough their ‘Terrible Two’ album was engineered by post-hardcore legend, Baltimore resident and all around nice guy J. Robbins at his Baltimore studio. It is safe to say this band are proudly Baltimore through and through.

Thank You’s skittering, rollicking post-rock racket on ‘Terrible Two’ rivals Battles for sheer delinquent avant-punk fervour. Amidst the clattering rhythmic chaos the band eke out lively foot tapping grooves. What initially sounds like an anarchic clutter reveals itself to be precisely honed and constructed pieces of work. Songs build and build or contract and contract. The basic elements of drums, organ, and guitar are joined by whistles, cowbell, hobo harmonica, snappy loops, drones and car horns. Sometimes the songs eventually just about begin to resemble rock ’n’ roll. Wardlaw’s drums veer from frisky disco beats to primitive pounding. Angular rhythms and wild polyrhythms explode crash and collide. Chundering organs do battle with scratchy skeletal guitars. When the band add gruffly chanted vocals they begin to resemble an Akron/Family skronkfest at its most sonically perverse.

Thank You owe as much to Fugazi and J. Robbins’ Burning Airlines as they do the likes of Tortoise. There is even a hint of Storm And Stress. A hardcore influenced sense of urgency insures things never get too self indulgent. In fact Thank You seem to be a direct descendent of mid-late 90s art-rock rather than the current day-glo disco-prog-punk-pop currently churning up the airwaves. They eschew the trend obsessed digital zeitgeist for an organic warmth that nestles amongst their frantic experimentalism.

(nadeem ali, new-noise)