A ten year wait for a new album from the highly talented Stu Thomas Paradox is a little puzzling, given the quality of the bands output. Maybe perchance this gap is because that Mr Thomas is a busy man appearing regularly, as he does, with two of the leading lights of Australian music, Dave Graney and Kim Salmon, amongst many other guest appearances from a wide variety of other players.
The new one is called “Counting To Infinity” and it is rather marvellous.
The exceptionally tight band of Thomas, Billy (guitar) and Eduardo Miller (bass) , and Phil Collings (drums) returns from 2010’s exceptional “Escape To Algebra” album. Whereas that album was exclusively Thomas tunes this new one mixes things up a little with a liberal sprinkling of obscure (and not so obscure) tunes from films, amongst some new songs.
The album provides a fascinating mix of styles/genres moving through 60 years of rock and film history. There’s a balance between hard paced rock, moody blues, and alt country twang, this selection would not be out of place on a David Lynch soundtrack.
The eclectic mix of The Girl On Deathrow by Lee Hazlewood, from the film “Why Must I Die?”, Peggy Lee’s Johnny Guitar, Satan (Theme) from 60’s biker classic Satan’s Sadists, Mama’s Boy (Return) from Johnny Suede, and the theme from the Bond film Thunderball takes this listener through an entertaining aural experience.
The self penned Stu tunes embrace a more current sound, self described as “voodoo rock”, there’s a refreshing application of familiar themes without relying on tropes or cliches. Notable is The New Grind which moves through several styles as it progresses and has a wonderful baritone sax break from Simon Grounds. I was reminded of John Zorn’s Naked City or The Gun Club with the unabashed leaps between Duane Eddy rockin’ and sultry swinging jazz blues.
The album finishes with Revelations a stripped back phased drum work out which focuses on Stu’s always astute lyrics. An interesting and perhaps brave way to close an album. Also featured is a Diamond Dogs era Bowiesque long-lost rocker Goddess Of Love by Stu’s old bandmate from 90s bands Freak Power and Doghouse, artist Cornelius Delaney (aka Nique Needles).
As a collection this set offers variety and great playing. This album is highly recommended.
Only available on CD via Bandcamp at the moment. Many thanks to Stu for providing me with an advance digital version for review and airplay purposes.
Further recommended listening
- The Stu Thomas Paradox – Escape To Algebra
- Stu Thomas – Devil and Daughter
- Eduardo Miller – I Was Watching the Whole Time…