David Thomas and The Pale Boys CD review [Smog Veil]

Music Reviews
David Thomas and The Pale Boys CD review [Smog Veil]
Oct 19, 2004, 18:06

DAVID THOMAS AND TWO PALE BOYS 18 Monkeys on a Dead Man's Chest  CD

To see David Thomas perform is to witness a monster of a man, who appears wiltingly defeated by life and health, render his heart. The Rocket from the Tombs re-recording, reissue and reunion in 2003 was a triumph and tragedy. Thomas, too obese to stand and deliver, sat on a chair in the middle of the stage swilling impressive amounts of beer and spitting out the best stuff he was ever part of, material that was going on 30 years old. Pere Ubu came up with a couple of masterpieces as well, notably “Final Solution” and the Datapanik EP, another heroic band bitten by the soft ears of the era.

This release, though, is pulsing and tense, every bit as sound as any Ubu, fat with geographical references to Nebraska, Brunswick and even New Orleans, may it rest in flames and never rebound. Thomas' voice is soft on “Brunswick Parking Lot” accompanied only by a melodeon, and rough when he sings “Numbers Man,” which rollicks like a Tombs tune.

The margins were made for Thomas,. His skills include writing filthy little songs that demand attention and assembling and overseeing musical combos that wring the noise out of melody. His weak spot? A decrepit physical state and his usually-rancorous demeanor. Thomas is not out, but he will always be down. Thankfully. [Smog Veil]

-Steve Miller

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