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Thornley 
by Linda Spielman

[editors note: this review was originally slated for Linda's Quick Hits review series (thus the short length), but since she gave it such a high rating it was placed here to give it more of a spotlight. We've included the band's official bio so that you can get to know more about them]. 

Thornley - Come Again 
Label: Roadrunner Records/
Rating: 
 
Tracks:
Falling To Pieces
Come Again
So Far So Good
Going Rate, The (My Fix)
Keep A Good Man Down
Easy Comes
Beautiful
Bright Side
Clever
Found Another Way
All Comes Out In The Wash
Lies That I Believe, The
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online
 
 
 
 

 

This debut album is a solid effort both musically and production wise for Thornley. The Roadrunner label release has packaged a great debut for the group.

The quartet effortlessly combines catchy lyrics with equally solid rock instrumental. Sure you could compare them to Puddle of Mudd or Nickelback only because the listener may need some sort of musical reference, being Thornley is a new band on the scene. However, quite frankly they can hold their own when it comes to carving out a musical niche. We can compare them to their peers, but their style of writing in particular stands out from others. 

From listening to the CD, I noticed a lyrical fluidity combined with the backing of solid rock chords that I haven’t heard in a very long time from a band. I was easily caught up in images and feelings of the music from the first listen. 

This CD is good listen. The balance of tracks makes it also an effortless listen. Future predictions for Thornley...probably will emerge on the scene in the future with an unforeseen bang like that of Switchfoot.


Official Bio


"Once you start writing a song, just get out of the way and let it write itself," says singer and guitarist, Ian Thornley. "That's the only way to do it."

By "getting out of the way," what Thornley means is not cluttering every song with unnecessary flash and flourishes, so that what comes through most clearly is the melody - something simple, direct and deeply emotional.

"On this record, melody is king."

But the songwriter makes sure King Melody is kept company by such courtiers as heavy guitar riffs, ass-kicking drums and emotionally intense vocals on his upcoming opus, entitled Come Again. "It's what rock music should sound like - simple and to the point, but of a really high caliber," says drummer Sekou Lumumba. "When we play for other people, seeing that response - just seeing them with their mouths open - feels so good. I can't wait for people to hear this record."

For Thornley, this new project is the culmination of more than a decade's worth of playing and writing. After moving to Boston to study guitar in the early '90s, the young Canadian began jamming with a group of American musicians who eventually coalesced into the band Big Wreck. "I became the singer by default," he says, chuckling. "I was writing the stuff, and couldn't find anyone to sing it whose voice I could stand listening to." Big Wreck recorded two albums for Atlantic Records, and experienced widespread success with the 1998 track "The Oaf (My Luck Is Wasted)." But as much as Thornley enjoyed the instrumental complexities Big Wreck's songs afforded him, over time he found himself drawn to a more direct mode of expression.

"With Big Wreck, we did a lot of experimenting, taking it outside and bringing it back in," he says. "With this band, it's just song, song, song. I just want to stack the record with as many great songs as I can."

He adds, "A lot of it has heavy parts - and I mean heavy. But it's all in the context of a song, a sweet melody. To me, that's the most important thing." The range of material is impressive, stretching from the can't-get-it-out-of-your-head nature of the first single, "So Far So Good," to the heavy riffs of "Falling To Pieces," to the slow and beautiful "Lies That I Believe," "a real epic rocker," in Thornley's words. The solid musicianship and undeniable hooks throughout the material make each track an 'epic rocker' in its own right. 

As for the lyrics, Thornley draws heavily on his personal life, although only a few are, in his words, gut-wrenchers - "you know, about feeling all the pressures of life, little things like that." He smiles mischeviously. "There's definitely a singer/songwriter vibe going on, except I am screaming it at you. Some of it is screaming because I've got to get it out, and others because I just like to scream."

"There's a lot of screaming on the record..."

He began work on this new project as Big Wreck began winding down in 2002, and once signed to Roadrunner Records, set about turning his songwriting project into an actual band. He literally ran into Lumumba, a much-in-demand session drummer who was living at the studio Thornley was using. "I had a writing room, and Sekou was jamming in the next room," he says. "That's how we met," says Lumumba. "He had some stuff he needed some drums for, I put them down in a miraculously short time." Next onboard was the much sought after bassist, Ken "The Worm" Tizzard and the final puzzle piece fell in place with the arrival of Tavis Stanley. After working with several guitarists, Thornley decided on this aggressive young bar-band vet.

While Thornley is excited about the release of Come Again, he's even more stoked at the prospect of getting out on the road. "Bruce Springsteen was my first concert - my dad took me - and I was like, 'That's what I want to do,'" he says.

"I love getting onstage and blowing people's minds. Because when you have, like, 5,000 people who are all your buddies... That's a real buzz." 
 



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