Put Us in Tune is Thou's first American release and its third full-length overall. With production and instrumental help from John Parrish (PJ Harvey's bandmate and one-time producer), Thou's sound gets a technically cool, noir-ish tweak from his involvement. Fronted by organist/vocalist Does de Wolf and guitarist/vocalist Bart Vincent, the sextet's music is touched by everything from trip-hop, cheesy French pop, St. Etienne, and Stereolab. Heard a hundred bands from Europe that could be described that way, haven't you? Yes and no. Lyrically, Thou is so smart and so economical, it's as if the band's lyrical twists and turns were a part of the music itself. The loops and drum tracks sound like stuff that was cut out of countless other records as being substandard, but when recycled becomes noteworthy; check out the crummy-sounding trap drum loop that gets put to such fine use in "Perverts." Or listen to the organ playing and sampling in "London," as vocals get buried in distortion under the mix or ride above it. And this band knows how to riff too, which makes it a rock & roll band unlike any of its contemporaries or other people it steals from. When the cutting room floor tapes of countless trip-hop recordings have been gathered in a pile and then reworked in a gorgeous musical amalgam that carries the fey wanton priss of early Prince into the bath with Soundgarden and the lilting dainty pop of the Boo Radleys -- as on "Soon Daladies" -- you've got something no one else does. Write this down: In three years every mainstream band will sound like this. Groovy as hell; tough as a yard dog.
Put Us in Tune Review
by Thom Jurek