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Celebration!

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Album Review

Thomas Function is an odd name for a band, but then again, this is a pretty peculiar group. The garage band hails from (sweet home) Alabama, and its 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," and "Earthworms"'s blues. However, even these numbers aren't quite as straightforward 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 it's 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 and 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.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Huntsville, AL-based band the Thomas Function play sloppy, joyful, organ-laden garage rock featuring Joshua Macero's occasionally whiney but always charismatic vocals. The band evolved from Macero's four-track bedroom tapes, around which he built the band in 2001, including Zach Jeffries (who provides the all-important Farfisa beat) and drummer Phillip Dougherty. Travis Thompson — an old cohort of Macero's from their days in punk band the Panic Buttons, was added on bass, and the Thomas Function...
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Celebration!, Thomas Function
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