The Blackthorns release posthumous 7"
Photo by Joe Noreen
Sometimes you get lucky with a band name and it's actually indicative of a sound, without being trite. The Blackthorns are a case in point. The name implies a dark and earthy tone that the band's gypsy-fused Americana delivers. The Blackthorns played an ominous, dark, and haunting music, accentuated with viola, cello, and an assortment of less traditional rock instruments, and singer Christian Thaddeus Petty's wail served to emphasize and embellish the tone without succumbing to genre.
To say goodbye (the Blackthorns parted ways in 2007 and splintered into other groups, including the Chickadee Mountain Martyrs, Dark Dark Dark, Brute Heart, and Poor Weather Club) the band offers a posthumous release: a live recording from underground institution the Church in March 2007. Needless to say, the recording from the illicit venue, Crooked Feathers, is on the subpar side. However, the mix is even and simply turning the volume up will counter this, for the most part. Just expect a little more echo than a studio recording will bring you, which adds to the already haunting feel of the music. Both songs follow a crescendo structure which, mixed with the quiet intros and the live recording, gives the record an atmospheric feel as it hits full stride. The rising drama of "The Fat and the Knife" well represents the band's strength in composition and their ability to work outside the confines of pop structure. The music sets a dark tone, but its Petty's vocals that bring the tone from merely eerie to haunting.
The record itself is something to behold, with a custom-cut window sleeve, a fold-out silkscreened poster, and an artistic, personal feel that only a limited run release can provide. It really feels like something the band wants you to have--it's not just a cash grab by a band that has called it a day.
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