Giant Electric Pea 2022
One-letter-named musician moves his one-man ensemble from under the spotlight to lure the flock into poetic gloom.
Delving into a T record can be akin to having a tea party at The Mad Hatter’s – only the rabbit’s hole required to get there is dark and full of vague shadows whose shapes play tricks with the listener’s mind. And if the listener’s goal is getting there rather than arriving, they’ll enjoy living in pareidolia, guessing which familiar images Thomas Thielen’s ambiguous motifs can conceal, and invariably failing, because the German artist designs his albums in such an enigmatic way. So the “You really fucked it up” line of “The Scars Of The Sky” will land a mercilessly heavy punch on those harboring the hope of hauling their host’s aural riddle’s into the light.
Another entry in the portmanteau-titled array of Thielen’s epic tapestries – the fourth layer of a holograph as Thomas has it – “Pareidoliving” still has something special about these tuneful puns. Here, the multi-instrumentalist’s stream-of-consciousness poetry and unorthodox operatics make the protracted opener “The Same Old Everything” simultaneously a lament for stability and a paean to frailty, where piano ripple, guitar strum and cello drone carry the heft of the deep voice which delivers harsh truths about here and now and then takes off, on the wings of a groovy hymn, towards electrically scintillating skies. Not that the Scott Walker-patented velveteen gloom should disappear in T’s ever-shifting passages, riffs and cinematic soundscapes, yet when “The Idiots Prayer” turns regret into uplift, and the ivories-laden vistas bring the effervescent “The Light At The End Of The Light” to the fore for the ghosts of yore to fade in the face of Thomas’s fun-to-funereal shoegaze until a vigorous six-string solo is shattered to usher them back and wrap the specters in a progressively synthetic cocoon.
But if the spoken-word-spiced “How Now To Speak” is able to crash their silence against silvery keys and heartbeat, the stormy, dynamically impressive “Behind This Pale Face” is looking for triumph in tragedy and morphs anxious throb into a vibrant anthem, and the crystalline, folk-informed “A Relevant Lovesong” marries remorse to intimacy. However, “Tell The Neighbours We’re Fine” offers an almost orchestral wonder for an awkwardly and otherworldly, albeit optimistic in its meta-humor, finale and soars to the many-colored realm once again. Quite befitting for “a knight of metaphors” as T’s referred in one of the pieces, “Pareidoliving” has chivalrous fight written all over the album’s music and, thus, has to be heard.