Thalia Zedek – Via (Thrill Jockey Records)
19 March 2013
In her fourth decade of recording, Thalia Zedek has a new solo album. Louder Than War reviews it below.
Five years since her last album, Liars and Prayers, Thalia Zedek is still recording and performing into her fourth decade of music. Her impressive back catalogue includes leading both Uzi and Live Skull and latterly being a member of Come and she continues to be revered in many quarters as a pioneer in the world of female independent rock.
Walk Away is a good solid opener to Via. Nice guitar work which builds slowly and slowly with a chorus that isn’t particularly easy to spot but is curiously catchy. Ex-Come drummer Daniel Coughlin plays some great percussion as the track builds with quite a lot of promise. It’s solid, and instrumentally it’s a fine track which gets pretty lively towards the end, but to be honest the vocals are a struggle on the album and a little too much like Tom Petty and safe.
Into second track Winning Hand and the tempo is down. Again the formula seems to be American MOR and if you’re a fan of that, and I’m aware it’s popular, then you’ll probably love this as I’m sure there’s an audience for this kind of thing. Unfortunately, I’m not part of the crowd.
I gave the album two full listens and then a part third and whilst there’s no doubting the great musicianship here, the songs continue to lack good choruses and I found myself listening to the same thing over and over again.
Track four, He Said, has the line “I’ve seen it all before” and therein lies the problem. The album lacks any real originality and fails to deliver anything new. It’s a shame, as with Thalia’s track record you’d maybe expect something better and a little more inspiring. As it is, Via is an album which will undoubtedly please many fans of the MOR/Country genre, but, it will probably also disappoint as many.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is Heaven Is A Place On Pendle. Paul has been working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, easily one of the best radio shows on the BBC. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow his personal twitter, @hiapop.