Martin Creed - Thoughts Lined Up - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Martin Creed - Thoughts Lined Up

by Steve Ricciutti Rating:4 Release Date:2016-07-12

With 24 songs taking up all of 48 minutes, multi-medium artist Martin Creed’s latest musical offering Thoughts Lined Up is as peculiar and idiosyncratic as the artist. This isn’t so much an album as it is a collection of ditties, scoring for other works, or simple experimentalism.  

Opener “I’m Going to do Something Soon” sets the tone of songs whose titles make up the bulk of the lyrics. This one has a wacky Hank Williams honky-tonk slide feel to get things off to a rousing start. Followed up by “Princess Taxi Girl,” which has an old time music hall-cum-early 60s Brit Invasion thing going on, with silly rhymes to make this an endearing if odd number. Ditto for “(You Put Your) Hand in my Hand.”  

“Prisoner of Rhythm” is a garage rock chugger, with Creed sounding like Roger Daltry snarling lyrics. “Can’t Say No,” is hand clap rhythms and Creed’s heavy accent, and “Everybody Needs Someone to Hate” (great title, btw), has angelic chorus vocals and Creed letting us know that we need people for lots of things, including the titular purpose. Add philosophy to the variety of this album. Unfortunately, the lion's share of the songs on here are of what I’d politely call filler but what someone else might call artistic experimentation. If this review could be one sentence, that previous one would be it. 

“Where Are You Gonna Be” employs what sounds like plinky toy instruments. “What Is It” is a jangly melody coupled with the question repeated until a mid-song fade out fools you for a second before coming back up to the same simplicity. “One, Two, Three” combines random woodwind sampling into what could be mistaken for pre-concert warm-ups. “Massive Boat” is only sixteen seconds of Creed talking about a boat. “Border Patrol” is another sub-minute ditty wherein Creed interplays “border” and “bore,” possibly to make a political point, but I’m not betting on anything with this record.

I’m not crazy about this disc for many reasons, but perhaps mostly because it almost sounds like a goof at the expense of the listener. Additionally, many of the songs are over before you realize it, thus lending a sense of an endless cacophony of styles, chanted choruses, and eclectic instrumentation. There are some intriguing sounds and, despite the almost torturous nature of the droning lyrics and rhythms, there are a few that wormed their way into my brain. That said; this was more often than not an exercise in endurance. On the other hand, if you’re into non-traditional musical art (I’m generally not), this could really be up your alley. It’s a big pass for me. 

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