Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review: Thot - Obscured by the Wind

Summary: Thot is a breath of fresh air in a tired and stale genre.

I haven’t been this excited about the future of Industrial since I first heard The Shizit’s “Gak Bitch” over 10 years ago. In the late 90’s and early 00’s, The Shizit, Atari Teenage Riot, The Mad Capsule Markets, Celldweller and Pitchshifter all were pushing Industrial in to new exciting places. At least, they should have. Unfortunately, all these great acts and JP Anderson’s (of The Shizit) subsequent project Rabbit Junk couldn’t dislodge Industrial out of it’s inbred EBM rut. In fact, Anderson did all he could to distance himself from Industrial, including trying to make up a new genre, “hard-clash.” ATR tried to call it “digital hardcore.” They only served to splinter and dilute their mindshare and push themselves into an even more obscure niche, losing a lot of traction with Industrial enthusiasts and a potential audience.

Maybe things are changing. It’s certainly well past time to end this insane post-modern genre-hairsplitting. Lately Cyanotic, Rabbit Junk and Celldweller have been playing shows together. Perhaps the pieces are all falling into place. A younger generation is paying attention. The old EBM crowd is at last hanging up the vinyl pants and moving on.

You can add Thot to the list of acts shuffling the EBM geezers off to the retirement home. Their new album Obscured by the Wind is a nonstop party, yes I said party, of sound that makes you want to jump up out of your chair and thrash about. If Cyanotic is heavy and angry, Thot is bursting with an almost cheerful and positive energy. This band is loud, noisy and just want to have a good time. I suspect the gloomy among you are like “oh no, I want to listen to dark dismal, angry music - I don’t want to lose my edge.” Well get over it or miss out on some fucking fantastic music. The layering of electronics and traditional rock instruments is smart, sophisticated and incredibly slick and yet it retains the looseness and energy of a live performance. They also avoid the repetitive nature of electronic infused Rock; the music constantly evolves and mutates throughout their compositions.

The heavy French accent of the vocalist only serves to add to their charm. And as with many non-native English speakers, their lyrics have a skewed take on the typical metaphoric conventions inherent to Rock music. The oddness just adds to the freshness of their sound.

Some of the highlights are “Take a bow and Run,” “Ortie” and “Solid Insecure Flower.” Even the slower tracks like “Blue and Green (are melting down in a seed)” and “The Hour Speller” have a compelling intensity and never wear out their welcome. The title track, “Obscured by the Wind” is just under 6 minutes long but seems at least twice that. This is not a criticism though, they just pack a lot of sound in a very short span of time. It’s easy to get lost in the instrumentation of these slower arrangements - but not for long as they are soon kicking your ass again with another get-up-off-your-ass rockin’ track.

Nothing is perfect though. “Moved Hills,” an otherwise spectacular track, suffers with some unnecessary and cheesy quasi-oriental flourishes and samples. The hard hitting “Spellbound Fields” is also saddled with some clichĂ© background samples. Fortunately those come and go and do little to undermine the strength of the track. These are quibbles though.

This is a fantastic debut album and makes me very optimistic about the future of Industrial (and for lack of a better term, Industrial is what we have to work with, like it or not). Thot are awesome and among a vanguard of new Industrial music.

You can listen and download more of Thot’s on Bandcamp: http://thot.bandcamp.com/

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