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St. Thomas
Mysterious Walks
Racing Junior/Universal Music

In just a few months the new label of the year, Racing Junior (run by the people behind So What, Oslo's most up-to-date venue), has turned into the most interesting oasis for new releases from the Norwegian underground. Here's catalogue number RJ 006, presenting the debut album from St. Thomas. Blessed pop, right?

St. Thomas' real name is Thomas Hansen. He's the new wonder-boy it seems, and more than a tad more interesting than the hyped Påsan, I must say. Last year he released Songs, a 7" EP on the Krank label, holding acid-folk or country-pop compared to names like Neil Young, Nick Drake, Elliott Smith, Palace/Will Oldham, Roky Erickson and Syd Barrett. He's also to be found up-front with up-and-coming pop band Emily Lang. Watch out! Anyway, Mysterious Walks is an impressive album debut, holding songs of substance, melodic quality and artistry. There's a lo-fi feel and attitude, with simplicity in arrangements and songs straight to the point. Vocals, guitars, banjo, organ, and all songs about 2 1/2 - 3 minutes long. What's also important is that there's a rich and warm sound and atmosphere throughout the album. It's authentically, no fake.

Alltogether there are 13 songs (including the usual hidden track - as always one of the best! How come?) Check out the title song with its great organ drive. Hear the despair in Failure # 2. References are dropped above. You could also mention Krank master Ring, who's sort of playing around the same musical path. Some songs, such as Walk With Me, makes me think of some of the Elephant 6 Rec. Co. collective, such as the Gerbils and the Music Tapes. A weirder recognition/association I do is during The Charity Ego, where the chorus reminds me of Eurythmics' Here Comes the Rain Again! Joke or coincidence? Anyway, Mysterious Walks seems, to me, like being a self-reflective album. Or is it a "theme" album about ones mysterious alter ego, hence title's like The Proud St. Thomas, The Charity Ego, and Lullaby From a Wannabe Popstar (nice!), which also implies good portions of humor. It even has got a thematic start and end: Born Again opens, while the gloomy My Early Funeral marks an instrumental (the second on the album) The End. But it doesn't sound like a happy one. He might rise again....(maybe that's what the secret track's all about...?) Mysterious Walks is brave and cool, and an excellent mixture of mystery and melody. Enjoy! And applaude!!

Copyright © 2000 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our St. Thomas articles/reviews: A Long Long Time EP, A Mouse In A Crowded House : Forever Unfinished, Hey Harmony, I'm Coming Home, Let's Grow Together - The Comeback Of St. Thomas, St. Thomas.

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