I mentioned These Curious Thoughts in my first review for the site and I think it’s worthwhile to revisit their 2012 release Building Mountains From the Ground. There’s a new album out at the moment and I’m working on a review of that but for the moment I’d like to share with you something I wrote a wee while ago by way of an appetiser for an underrated band who I think deserve wider exposure. This review has previously appeared elsewhere but I’ve changed a few paragraphs and moved a couple of commas about.
In 2011 Londoner Jamie Radford (lyrics) and Sean Dunlop from Motown, a.k.a. Detroit in the U.S. of America (music and vocals) were joined by Nate Shannon on bass and Sean “Nasty” Nasery on drums. And thus we have this new album, which continues in a similar musical vein as their earlier record. It’s a few minutes short of an hour long, and is positively packed to the rafters with fantastic musicianship, and intelligent, thought-provoking lyrics. The last one was good but this is even better.
I’ve Got God On The Phone gets the album off to a rollickingly good start, a feel good poppy/rocky tune, a bit Talking Headsy perhaps, with a memorable chorus, great guitar fills and backing vocals by God, who asks, quite understandably ‘what the hell do you want?’ Indeed.
Uncivilised Society is a slab of alt pop/prog reminiscent of Spiraling, or Talk Talk, whilst Dark Star has the REM/BOC thing going on that I was so enamoured of on the last record. With a touch of Neil Young thrown in for good measure. The exuberant run for the finish and sublime little guitar solo towards the end is particularly pleasing.
The title song is a slower piece, more keyboard oriented than the preceding tracks before we’re off back to guitar town and Nothing Is Supernatural. Yet another great guitar solo in the style of Donald (Buck Dharma) Roeser marks out this song as one that’s sure to appeal to BOC fans, as are the multi-tracked vocal harmonies.
The Illusionist has a swinging Dave Matthews Band vibe to it, musically and vocally, as well as sounding like it wouldn’t have been out of place on Mirrors.
Arctic Heart Attack puts me in mind, very much, of the solo work of personal favourite Johnny Unicorn of Phideaux, both in terms of the vocal delivery, and the intelligent lyrics.
Dirty Water is a piano–led (think the start of Joan Crawford) slab of intelligent alt/prog slash math rock with a kick-ass chorus and odd bursts of what sounds remarkably like the riff from Culture Club’s ‘Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?’
10 Days After has an infectious, more laid-back REM groove to it, whilst I’m A Simple Man swings along right out of the gate with those trademark Roeser-esque guitar fills, vocal delivery and harmonies that has me all of a quiver.
I Am Not Insane gets us back in Dave Matthews territory, and has some of REM’s poppier sensibilities to propel it.
Charles Darwin is the longest song on the album, at a tad under six minutes. A sampled vocal, and sound effects muse on life, the universe and everything. It’s a powerful, challenging and experimental piece, akin to something Radiohead or Mogwai might do, and musically is very percussive.
Animals muses on what an alcohol-sodden species we in the western world have become before Get Along segues in, a wonderful dollop of intelligent post-modern pop/prog, before yet another (all too short) burst of fantastic soloing.
When God Was A Boy is the last song on the album, mixing reflective piano and a sing-along chorus. Tremendous.



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