Thad Kopec - The Shadow and The Caster

by Jason Atkinson Rating:7 Release Date:2017-04-21

One of the lyrics on the latest Thad Kopec release asks the following: “is it darkness or is it shade?” It is a question of identity, and it seems that this album grapples with it. Throughout this thirteen track work, we move among sonic worlds: the acoustic and the electronic; the sloppy and the clean; the distorted and the well-articulated.

Thad Kopec’s music is for a quiet day or a quiet stretch of days. Music for a long hike on a weekday when you should be working. There is a restlessness here—one that I don’t mind so much. “In the Days of the Comet,” the first track on the album, sets us up with big electronics only to pull into something a bit more quiet only to bring us back to noise and intensity. “Half-Moon/Distant Shore” is a little messy and unkempt, with a stumbling drum beat and beautiful strings. It would remind me of Sufjan Stevens if Stevens were not trying so damn hard to get everyone to like him.

“Second Best,” has layered back up vocals that are a frustrated delight. The acoustic work here reminds me a bit of Sun Kil Moon on his album “Among the Leaves.”  “Cedars of Lebanon” failed to draw me in immediately, but I found myself increasingly more taken with it as it built on itself, eventually giving way to some solo trumpet. “Death Forgets Me” brings a raucous entrance, full of dumbness and tumult. Then, back down and building—one of my favourite tracks on the album. Then, another killer: “Final Task,” which, to my ears, sounds like mountains. But not new the mountains of Colorado, but rather more ancient and quiet—the Appalachian range. Or maybe just some weird hill in your town that everyone calls a mountain.

Kopec is a compelling songwriter. He doesn’t mind being a little sloppy—this is his strength and, perhaps, the thing that distinguishes his music. Buy his album and then put it on an endless loop.

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