Could This Music Be So Hard To Define?
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When it comes to Thin White Rope, reviewers seem to have a very hard time describing the band. The All-Music Guide said they're influence (singular) was the Velvet Underground, while I've heard them compared, unbelievably, to both R.E.M. and the Three O'Clock. There are a lot of "if's," apparently, that were left out: for instance, if VU played Hank Williams, then you might capture the spirit of Thin White Rope. If R.E.M. were to play Thirteenth Floor Elevators covers (which, I know, they actually HAVE done), again, TWR might be comparable.Thin White Rope, I have a feeling, is the only country band I'll ever love. More country than Nashville, they lived in the same kind of sound and ethic that was epitomized by Roky Erikson's throaty shrieks on the Elevators' "You're Gonna Miss Me," or Hank Williams's yelps on "Kalijah" and freaked out preaching on "Ramblin' Man." A stranger, bleaker, truer country, one that you get at truck stops and hotel oases in the middle of the desert.Sack Full of Silver is their best album, from the standpoint of songs, musicianship, and album conception. I heard it was recorded while they were touring, which may give it its live, spare (but really loud) sound, and there are songs on it that conjure images of a travelling life, particularly the feedback whine of "Diesel Man," although the whole album brims with a transitory feeling. From the opening, almost pop, of "Hidden Lands," with its crunching peaks and dips, to the acoustic title song, to the magnificent cover of Can's "Yoo Doo Right" (which at the very least is controversial, tampering with the Great CAN, but it's done with such a terrific, American country resignation that it SHOULD just sound this way), the variety on Sack Full of Silver also manages a certain cohesiveness, something they didn't pull off quite as well on other records. All the songs sound like they belong together.It would sound rote to say they were ahead of their time, but they were, giving that grungey, fedback kick to rock while remembering that rock is just as much country music (something Cobain et al. started towards before, um, stopping) as anything else, while adding a strange, dark and shrieking psychedelia that grabs hold of the brain.So why don't we just say it? Introducing the REAL Nick Cave..."
Sometimes I make burns on my arms....
Alasdair Brooks | Melbourne Australia | 12/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was the first Thin White Rope album I ever owned. If it's not quite their best (Amazon won't allow 4 1/2 stars), then it's certainly very, very good indeed. I'd send the first-time TWR rope buyer to 'Moonhead' and 'In the Spanish Cave', and only then to 'Sack Full of Silver'. I first heard this on vinyl, and was about to refer to 'sides' (how quaint), so adjusting for CD... The first 8 songs are excellent, if perhaps lacking the creeping psychosis of the 2nd and 3rd albums - until you reach Triangle, quite possibly the most lyrically terrifying song in the TWR canon. Any song that claims 'Sometimes I make burns on my arms / Cause it moves that feeling from heart to my arms' isn't for the faint of heart. And kudos for not only attempting a Can cover (Yoo Doo Right), but improving on the original. But the last two songs don't quite keep up the pace.If you're feeling _really_ adventurous, why not try the TWR live album 'The One That Got Away'? And you thought the studio version of 'Triangle' was frightening...."
The best CD from this band
Emanuele Frati | Piacenza Italy | 04/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At that point the band was mature, the playing is very good and the clean production is very close to mainstream music. Finally, they were blessed with a very good (new) drummer, too. But it's the music that will catch you forever. The songs - a kind of Western complex root-rock music - are sombres, and the singing is very soulful. All the tracks are excellent, and I can only cite my favorite: Triangle song. After this album, you can dig out their whole production; you'll find no misstep."