Prog-rock attitude does folk-inflected, digitally bolstered instrumentalism; Sam Thomas uses his conductor’s baton as both scythe and soother for his debut theatrical spectacle. Not following a particular plot but giving 12 chapters of shyness turned lavish, emotional highs and lows rush from the ingrained knowledge of auditorium ascendancy that comes from being the rebel son of an opera singer.
Swaying like a summer breeze on “Internal Ether,” Thomas’ opportunism and musicianship humbly holds destiny in its own hands, allowing for plenty of guitar wielding and frantic drum rolls on the threshold of indulgent solos in leather trousers. The subsequent “I’m Gonna Be A Witch” sounds like it’s struggling to get out of bed, before enchantment swirls around and becomes a soaring performance underscored by child dialogue and more screeching axes that jolt the fuggy-headed stupor on a stairway to heaven – nearly ten minutes of emotional range, the six string funk and boogie three quarters in particularly wicked.
Though the subject may appear a confused brainstorm, the longer the music has to think, the greater opening of expressive floodgates. “Ojera” comes to rest as a chillout standard, but just when “Lanterns” seems to have stemmed the tide, a crashing aftershock bites, leaving final act “Isis” to make you wonder whether it was all a dream in the first place. Sometimes it’s a little difficult to determine which chapter is which, though by the same means Thomas’ talent maintains impeccable ebb and flow throughout.
File under: God Speed You! Black Emperor, Mogwait, Pink Floyd