Martin Dosh describes the minimal, repetitive soundscapes he assembles as post-rock, a genre that's as vague and inclusive as the music he makes on Tommy. (The album has absolutely nothing in common with the Who's album of the same name, in case you're wondering.) The pieces here -- it's hard to call them songs or tracks -- are almost ambient, but there's too much noise and too many shifting sounds to keep you from spacing out for too long. It could be called space music, but it eschews the soothing sounds associated with that genre. Maybe you could call it music from the heart of a black hole, a thick sonic stew that can shift from compellingly rhythmic to playfully experimental to annoyingly harsh. There is more singing here than on most of Dosh's other albums, but the results aren't actually songs as such. Scatting voices, skittering keyboards, and what sounds like a toy piano swim through the vaguely African rhythms of "Subtractions." A vocal that sounds like a distracted child making up a "song" weaves in and out of the dense layers of percussion on "Town Mouse" accompanied by random sax squeaks. Andrew Bird sings on "Number 41" over ambient steel guitar, a thumping almost-rock rhythm section heavy on the bass, and occasional acoustic guitar. It's as close to pop as the album gets. The drum'n'bass excursion of "Yer Face" has woozy mostly unintelligible vocals, but it's charming nonetheless. Bird also contributes vocals to "Nevermet," but again they get buried in the thumping mix of bass, acoustic guitar, and drums. The instrumentals include "Loud," with a linear piano line and effects that create the feeling of a big dark echoing space; "Airlift," with its choppy beat and long, sustained keyboard notes; "Country Road X," which sounds like an electric piano floating through a '70s airport lounge in the mid-afternoon; and the disc closer, "Gare de Lyon," the most unique and annoying track on the disc. Drums that sound like a real drum kit played in real time clash with piano tinkles and processed space noise, slowly building to a rush of processed sound before subsiding to a rocking minimal bassline and a guitar bashing out distorted metallic chords.
AllMusic Review by j. poet