June 22, 2010

Music Review: Thulium - 69

A quick search on the word Thulium turns up the fact that it is a metal on the periodic table of elements and has an atomic number of 69 (well, that explains the EP title and logo). It is expensive, rare, and is used in X-ray machines and solid state lasers. Aside from those two uses, the element does not seem to be all that impressive. Sure, it is rare, but it is never found alone or in any great quantities, it is, for the most part, non-toxic.

It makes me a little curious to how thy decided on the name. The best I can guess is it relates to the rarity of the bands home countries to come together. The band has members from France, England, Canada, and Hungary. I cannot say I have ever heard of a band with such a collection of nations.

Rhythm guitarist and vocalist Boubou, native of France, began putting the band together in 2003. It was a long process getting to their current lineup, which was set in 2006. A move to England along with a searching led him to working with Chris (bass, England), Vik (lead guitar, Hungary), and Rob (drums, Canada). The diverse lineup has stuck and they have been carving out a niche on the local scene in England while always looking for more.

They are starting to make a move as they are currently working on their first full-length album. In the meantime, they have released a three-song EP, which is what I currently have my hands on. What makes this release, and the full-length as well, is that the production is/was fan-funded. That's right, the fans footed the bill for the work. By the same token they also profit from the finished product. You can check out the process at Fan Funded Forum. It really is an interesting process and one that is ongoing. If you like what you hear, they are still accepting donations as they work on their full length album. Now, do not look at me trying to sell them to you so they can get paid, I merely find the process quite interesting as I have never come across anything quite like it.

Now, I am sure you are more interested in the music and what I think about it. With a few listens under my belt I can honestly say that I like it. I don't love it, I don't hate it. It fits solidly in the category of radio rock while having enough personality to stand out on its own. I will be honest, the radio-friendly zone of rock and alt. rock is not exactly my favorite, but I a always open to finding something new and wonderful.

Thulium, while not exactly wonderful is solid. They are the sort of band I could definitely see heading out to see live. In the three songs on 69 there is a definite energy that should translate well live. Led by energetic guitars, a solid beat, and  enough bounce to get your head rocking, there is no doubt they cold get a crowd going.

As for the three tunes here, each one improves on the prior. The first track is "Running" and it wastes no time getting going, no lame intro here, get right into the song. It moves a good pace, is easy to rock too and has a group sung chorus response which invited crowd participation. If there is one thing that doesn't work for me it's the vocals. They are not bad, but they have a certain whispery quality that I find a little odd. Even when singing full force it still sounds like a whisper. Still, it is a solid song that knows what it wants to be.

The second song is called "Craving." This still features Boubou's whispery/singing but it seems to fit better here. "Craving" has a looser groove to it. I don't want to say punk as this is not punk, but it sort of has that feel to me. It also reminds me of something from the 1990's, although I cannot quite put my finger on what I am reminded of.

The final song is by far the strongest, it is also the mellowest of the bunch. It is pretty much a Thulium ballad. The song is "90 Days of Sorrow" and it is driven by a soft piano line and what sounds like a drum synth. It is a moving song that carries a lot of emotional weight. I have to believe that this was written with a specific person in mind. Boubou puts his heart and soul into the performance. Not to mention, Vik has a pretty solid solo in the latter half. This is the song that makes this EP worthwhile and is the one song I can see myself coming back to.

Bottomline. This is a good showing for the young band and a good showcase of what they are capable. It is not my favorite style, but it is solid nonetheless. I am interested in seeing where they go and how they develop there skills. I also give them a lot of credit for getting the financing the way they are, it is definitely a telling move in how much the industry as a whole is changing. In any case, check them out, you may just like what you hear.


Disclosure: I did receive a promotional copy. This did not affect the outcome of this review.



Post a Comment