Beth Thornley: Wash U Clean


RIYL: Aimee Mann, Anya Marina, Ben Folds

It takes real talent to create music that is hip, yet melodic; accessible, yet not forced; and catchy yet not catchy to the point that you don’t want to listen after five spins. Piano songstress Beth Thornley has done this on her third album, Wash U Clean, a bouncy collection of pop tunes that are as infectious as any piano-driven ditties you’ve ever heard. Thornley herself is apparently amazed at the variation between the artists she is compared to, but that’s because that variation is genuinely as wide as the Grand Canyon – even from track to track. That’s just one of the many reasons to like this terrific set of music, and it’s a bonus that you’ll feel as cool as some hipster blogger while listening to it. The title track features a horn riff that will remind you of the synthesizer in Gary Numan’s “Cars,” but the soaring chorus is like one of those long-lasting wads of bubble gum. From there, Thornley weaves in and out from Ben Folds-like anthem (“Still Can’t Hide” and “It’s Me”) to the Aimee Mann-ish “There’s No Way” to the best track of all, the stunning ballad “What the Heart Wants” – the musical version of a lazy Saturday afternoon. Beth Thornley has really delivered a beauty with Wash U Clean, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a bad song on it. (Stiff Hips 2010)

Beth Thornley MySpace Page

  

Depeche Mode: The Dark Progression

A definite step above the other unauthorized biographies in Sexy Intellectual’s catalog but not yet on par with the Classic Albums series, this look at the metamorphosis of Depeche Mode from cult electronic act to one of the biggest bands in the world makes one hell of an argument for the band as a worthy inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Featuring interviews with several of the band’s producers (Gareth Jones, Dave Bascombe, Daniel Miller) and electronic peers (Thomas Dolby, Gary Numan, OMD’s Andy McCluskey), the documentary focuses on the band’s rather gutsy decision to explore darker territory, beginning with 1986’s Black Celebration and ending with 1993’s Songs of Faith and Devotion, by which time the band was topping the US charts. The claim that the documentary features interviews with the band members is a tad dishonest, as they merely include clips from the short films that Mute assembled for the reissues of the band’s catalog in 2006 (and only one clip per member at that). They also gloss over the reasons behind Alan Wilder’s departure from the band, a move from which the band has only recently begun to recover. However, there is enough here that will thrill fans of the band in particular and of electronic music in general. Who knew that Andrew Fletcher was a fan of heavy metal? (Sexy Intellectual 2009)

Click here to buy Depeche Mode: The Dark Progression

  

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