In the vein of Bay Area legends Red House Painters, the Red Thread -- basically the nom de rock for singer/songwriter Jason Lakis -- peppers its somberness with tinges of warm Americana on Tension Pins. Lakis' sophomore set is superbly written, with repeated listens to songs like "New Watch" and "Map of the Moon" supporting its elegance. Relaxed but hauntingly executed, "The Getaway" and "From the Divide" are sophisticated and strangely memorable. One can't help wanting to lump Lakis in with American Music Club frontman Mark Eitzel based on his vocal turn on the latter, although the Red Thread's mouthpiece also regularly recalls Idaho's Jeff Martin. But the man's instrumental prowess on "Postcards" and his ability to pepper his own heartache with pedal steel find Lakis carving out his own identity. Expect the Red Thread's Tension Pins to influence busloads of lovelorn troubadours in the years to come.
AllMusic Review by John D. Luerssen