Where Oh Where Oh Where
This past July, the five members of Thunder in the Valley packed up their raggedy indie-rollick 'n' roll and headed out to Philadelphia to cut their latest record with producer-engineer Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man). While no details have yet emerged regarding a full-length release, the fellas were nice enough to put together this five-song EP before leaving town once again, this time on a six-week nationwide tour. A new album it ain't, but what's wrong with a light smattering of things yet to come?
Beginning with the jangly chug-a-long "94 in Reverse," the disc starts on an upbeat note. With a simple guitar progression doubled on the piano and garnished with twangy electric leads, it's probably the most memorable track on the album. But for my money, the slow and spare piano number, "My Only Anna Lee," may be the disc's best. Sounding like a drunken love ballad sung alone and woozy in a 19th-century saloon, it's about as dark and depressed as the band seems to get.
Buoyed by pianist Jake Luck's ragtime syncopations, TITV's songs have a charming sort of bounce to them that routinely inspire audience members to break into (non-ironic, mind you) old-timey dance—truly an amazing feat in the realm of earnest indie-rock, a genre ballasted by hipster coolness. While the new material still retains the band's trademark shuffle and bop, there's a hint of alt-country here that suggests subtle forays into new directions.