Thursday, October 20, 2005

If Thousands

I Have Nothing
If Thousands music perfectly captures the bleak winter wasteland that is the upper American Midwest. The band was started in 2000 by Christian McShane and Aaron Molina. They made the conscious decision to make music with instruments they had no experience with. Their music sounds like early Flying Saucer Attack played at Loren MazzaCane Connors pace.
The album opens with the beautiful “Push.” An accordion moans as strings are gently plucked. It fades away rather abruptly. My only complaint about this disc is that I wish they let the sound pieces go on for longer. Some of the edits makes some of the tracks feel truncated. The music itself is amazing in its simplicity and its beauty. The photography on the cover by Joe Cunningham of monochromatic snow-scapes perfectly captures the expansive yet simple sound of the band.
“Wisconsin Bombs” may be one of the most misleading song titles ever. The song contains no explosions. It features only gentle guitar strumming and subtle electronic gurgles. “Providence” enters a Dead C like vein. It features a nice blast of guitar feedback and slowly bowed strings. If Thousands inhabit the space of the more abstract, non-rock-out jams of Jackie-o Motherfucker. The If Thousands sound simmers yet never boils over. The band never falls into the trap of wanky-ness which is very easy to do in an improvised setting.
One of the more startling tracks off this disc is “Alpha.” It is a dirge-y tune which features an organ and thumb harp. I found the track jarring and out of place at first. Slowly the sound grew on me and I became at peace with the demonic clown music. The last song on the disc, “Stella and Me,” is another pleasant surprise. It is a nice ditty which features accordion and banjo; it enters late-era Fahey territory. If Thousands music is minimal yet wonderfully home-spun. It will definitely get you through some cold nights out on the prairie.
(Silber Media) (Dan Cohoon)