Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tom Thumb's "We never die"

Tom Thumb was already a favorite at RSL when I joined the crew a year ago. I had some catching up to do. On the night I first met Ryan, he led me over to Great Scott’s to see Andy Arch (the solo name behind the Tom Thumb project) play songs from his 2008 “The Taxidermist” album. It didn’t take much to be convinced. After that show, I listened to his new CD, “We never die,” with some trepidation – could he perform the acrobatics of building a whole second album to similar effect?

“We never die” comes stutteringly to life with a lone mandolin. It is a very human sound, unpolished to the point where it belies Arch’s mastery of his instrument(s). I’m pleased to say that this slight introduction to opening track “Olivia” sets the tone for a very intimate journey that is at least as moving and euphoric in turns as anything on “The Taxidermist.”

Arch’s lyrics are intricate, leaping from compacted image to image, sometimes amusing, often touching, and never prosaic. Though there is poignancy, my overriding emotional response is simply to revel in Arch’s complex play between the celebratory and sad.

All this joyous music builds, like any really great album, to a delicate crescendo in “Acid Rain.” Playing this song, among several from the last album, at a show in Boston some months ago, this was immediately a stand out. Here on the CD it makes clear that Arch knows not just how to write a lyric, or just how to write a song, but the dying art of how to write an album. “Acid Rain” caps off a project that seals Tom Thumb’s place as the best solo artist to come out of Boston in some years.

You are lucky this week, because not only can you pick up this great new Tom Thumb album (http://tomthumbmusic.com/), but you can also see the start of his fall tour begin, this Friday at the whitehaus in Jamaica Plain. If you live outside Boston, make sure you catch him at one of the following shows across America:

10.10.09 - Biddeford, ME @ the hfs annex

10.11.09 - Keene, NH @ Toadstool Bookshop

10.13.09 - Jamestown, NY @ Labyrinth Press Co.

10.16.09 - Brooklyn, NY@ Sycamore

10.20.09 - Penland, NC @ Penland School of Crafts Coffeehouse

10.21.09 - Chapel Hill, NC @ Caffe Driade

10.23.09 - Atlanta, GA @ Star Bar

10.24.09 - Athens, GA @ 2nd Annual Southern Celebration of Life

10.28.09 - Indianapolis, IN

10.29.09 - Urbana, IL

10.30.09 - Chicago, IL

10.31.09 - Lincoln, NE @ Clawfoot House

11.2.09 - Denver, CO

11.5.09 - Boulder, CO

11.7.09 - Las Vegas, NV @ the Cloud Hidden House

11.10.09 - San Luis Obispo, CA @ the Clubhouse

11.28.09 - Port Townsend, WA @ the Boiler Room

12.5.09 - Madison, WI @ the project lounge

12.6.09 - Chicago, IL @ the Orphanage

12.10.09 - Rochester, NY @ Boulder Coffee Co

12.14.09 - Portsmouth, NH @ the Red Door

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