Thea Gilmore - Avalanche
After an Internet only release (Songs from the gutter), Ms. Gilmore is back with another album that has caused a fair amount of talking in the press. Little wonder given the way in which Thea Gilmore has matured from her earlier records in leaps and bounds.
Avalanche partly chronicles a difficult time in her life and showcases some of her best songwriting to date. Rags and Bones announces a new sound for the album - the acoustic guitar melts into drum loops and you can vaguely hear a musical saw far down in the mix. The following track Have you heard is equally strong with another good mix of dobros with wailing feedbacking guitars in the distance - Thea's voice is once again malleable, finding both soothing tones as well as a truculent edge when needed. On Juliet - the single which charted in the UK's top 40 - she lambasts someone who managed to get under her skin but returns to more intimate themes with the beautiful Avalanche. With interesting production mixing beatboxes with a flanged guitar and a cello, her voice seems slightly distorted as she asks "who'll be able to stand in this Avalanche" - hauntingly good.
Mainstream, the second single, is also very catchy and rocky with a certain Springsteen tinge mixed with some post-modern lyrics as do Apparition #13 and Heads Will Roll. The rest of the album continues with excellent songwriting and exquisite production, constantly managing to push the envelope without sounding too clever-clever. Ending the album with The Cracks, Thea offers a small amount in what is a relatively dark album. It remains another outstanding effort and an easily accessible introduction to her music for those not yet addicted to her...