Album Reviews

Thom Carter: Strange Dreams (Album Review)

He’s been known by many names over the years.  For avid FensePost readers, Menhirs of Er Grah will probably ring a bell.  For avid Thom Carter followers, March Rosetta, Black Crown, Minimal States, Needleleaf, and a few more names might seem a bit more recognizable.  But, now, we have Mr. Carter directly in the flesh. With his most personal record yet, we find the rocket man who has hidden behind several different names over the years, spread out with a naked soul on his debut album under his own name. Strange Dreams is a perfect love letter for a career that has contained nothing short of a collection of musical displays of amazing ambiguity and “souvenirs and cigarettes” (as the man quotes) of one of the hardest working men creating amazing music today.

Strange Dreams finds us where we left off on the more obscure piano-driven folk tracks we heard on Carter’s earliest EP’s as Menhirs of Er Grah (definitely see Mourning Dove).  Although he greatly improved on the pluck and twang aspect of his later MEG records, there has definitely become a distinct difference between what we knew of this incredible talent back in later half of last the last decade.  This album brings us a bit of nostalgia for things that didn’t really take place that long ago, but has definitely been respectfully missed.  Essentially, as we hear Thom on his debut album under his own identity, we manage to hear a culmination of the 30 plus records he has created thus far under whatever name he may choose.  Here we find the man stripped down to the bare essentials of existential expression.  And of course, we find no vulnerabilities in this brilliant artist’s attempt at full fledged self expression.  Only love, and total endearment as he echoes out words of life unlike damn near anything we have heard before.

Thom Carter has recently invited the demise of his once beloved Verlaine Records.  Opting out to start a whole new label, with a whole new form of existence known as Self Released Records.  While a transformation is still underway, rest assure that the beauty we have become accustomed to over the last few years will always be intact.  But, as you lay awake during ungodly hours of the night with a beer soaked memory and never ending cups of black coffee as your guide, take a moment to remember all that Thom Carter and Verlaine Records has given us.  And bask in the glory of an album like Strange Dreams, let your thoughts become lost in the idea that there will always be more in the making from one of the finest acts of our time, and just plain appreciate one of the finest albums to be dutifully released this year.

Download: “Before You Go” by Thom Carter

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Verlaine Records [CD, 2011]

1.  Inside A Fire
2.  Albatross
3.  Before You Go
4.  You Are The Land
5.  In Denial
6.  Surrender
7.  Strange Dreams
8.  Sunshine Girl

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