Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Pop, Rock
David Thomas isn't a monster
George T. Parsons | Nevada City, CA | 10/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This four disc set features five albums that incredible singer composer songwriter surrealist David Thomas recorded from 1981 to 1987, with a remarkable shifting group of great musicians including: Richard Thompson (Fairport Convention, and his own amazing body of work), Anton Feir (Golden Palominos, etc.), Phil Moxham (Young Marble Giants, the Gist), Chris Cutler, Lindsay Cooper, the singular synthesizer genius Allen Ravenstine, and others. The music ranges from challenging (and rewarding), to gently hypnotic and beautiful. Thomas is a great storyteller in his own peculiar way, which perfectly matches his singular helium-filled vocalizations. This finds Thomas and his musical friends making some of the most strange and idiosyncratically original music ever recorded. This costs about as much as a single CD would in most stores, snap it up today, do not delay."
Uniquely exquisite talent
piXelatia | Sydney, Australia | 12/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"David Thomas, who was also lead singer for the cutting edge band Pere Ubu, is an original and provocative performer. I had heard a couple of tracks of his work on late night radio many years ago in Sydney, and had never forgotten the haunting and compassionate nature of both his lyrics/poetry and his voice. I liked those two tracks so much that I was prepared to take a punt on this five CD set, even though I was unable to listen to them prior to purchase. If Pere Ubu is too hardcore for you, please do not be misled. While David Thomas' solo work remains quirky, it is not Pere Ubu. You will also be pleasantly surprised by the muscianship and musical composition on this boxed set, which includes oboe and what sometimes sounds like bowed electric bass. While these albums are definately in a field of their own making, they are surprisingly accessible- well worth taking the time to sit back and listen. My favourite tracks are Monster Walks the Winter Lake, My Theory of Spontaneous Combustion, the delightful Pedestrian Walk, Birdtown- I could go on, but am still discovering the uniquely exquisite talent that is David Thomas and his muscians."
Fantastic at any price--unbelievable at the price Thomas is
Ian Manire | Portland, OR | 02/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was a huge fan of Pere Ubu's earlier work, but things seemed to get a little sketchy from 'The Art of Walking' onward (though I've come to appreciate those albums over the years). So it was largely due to the low risk factor thanks to the very low price offered that I bought David Thomas' solo work compendium 'Monster' some seven years ago. Suddenly the seeming weakness of those early-80s Pere Ubu albums made sense--Thomas was saving all the good stuff for his solo records! Where the Ubu stuff was rather diffuse and often a little too cartoon-vocal-ed for my taste--the music on Monster was both musically adventuresome and emotionally resonant. 'Sound of the Sand' isn't exactly what you'd expect from Ubu--featuring a musician I loved in his own right, Richard Thompson, whose previous work you wouldn't really connect with post-punk madness in a hundred years--but it is fantastic fun. To my surprise, though, the best work came farther from the heady post-punk glory days: for me, namely 'Variations on a Theme' and especially 'More Places Forever'. The former is a slightly more focused extension of the ideas found on 'Sand'. But the latter is worth several times the admission price on its own.
Featuring two thirds of my favorite components of Henry Cow (Chris Cutler and Lindsay Cooper), 'More Places' is identifiably a rock/pop/songwriter album--from an alternate history where woodwinds were the center of the rock'n'roll revolution, instead of the electric guitar. Composed with a rich melodic sensitivity, recorded simply and directly, and mastered with almost classical dynamics (literally, it varies in volume and intensity in ways rarely associated with popular music), the album is completely accessible (well, to anyone likely to be reading this review, in any case). If you need one song to demonstrate the beauty to be found here, try to hear "About True Friends". The melodies still make my hair stand on end (quite literally) even after hundreds of replays--they float, swoop, glide, spin in a stirring dance. And from an apparent godfather of lyrical detachment of modern hip music--here (and on many songs in his set) Thomas' lyrics communicate a sweetness, a playfulness, a melancholy, a wide-eyed earnestness that is no less affecting for its unexpectedness.
I'd gladly buy every album in the set singly, or happily pay five times what is being asked for the set. 'More Places Forever' easily makes my top 25 albums of all time (not too shabby considering I'm at somewhere around 4,000 owned during my life so far), and all of the others would rank among the greater achievements of most art-minded pop musicians. For any fan of the artsy, playful lineage of which Ubu and Thomas are a part--all the outre faves--well, you won't find a more obvious purchase. So much of this sort of music tends to be fetishised and rarified, bringing high prices and the dreaded words "out of print". But Thomas has made this music readily available to all, and I highly recommend you take advantage of his generosity.
(This version lacks the live disc with Two Pale Boys, from which I expected even less than the 80s music. However--I was proved wrong again. His albums with the Pale Boys, especially 'Surf's Up' are also fantastic, darker and more narrative--very much worth the purchase, despite their horrible cover art design.)"