Monday, January 12, 2004

Oh Brother! Where Art Thou?

Belgian band Thou popped onto the radar in 2001 on the now-defunct, Belgian financed but US based See Thru Broadcasting label, probably best known as the home of Enon's first full length Believo. Here's an article that will tell you all about why See Thru Broadcasting was going to succeed. Sigh. I picked Thou's US debut, Put Us In Tune, as my favorite album of 2001, and I continue to stand by that choice. Anticipating Enon's High Society album, Put Us In Tune split between electronica-influenced guitar rock and trip-hoppy pop, with the former generally sung by the boy (Bart Vincent) and the latter by the girl (Does De Wolf). There's no way to prove it, but I've always wondered if Enon got the idea for their High Society rock/electronica boy/girl split from Thou.

Here are two songs from Put Us In Tune. First, my favorite song, Amuse. And here's Calling Me, to show off the band's other side. I was surprised that the album didn't make a bigger splash, especially given that it was constructed atop leftover Portishead backing tracks (Thou are friends with the Portishead gang)...I thought that would be enough of a public relations hook to get it more notice.

Anyway, See Thru Boadcasting is no longer with us, Enon made a big splash on a different label with the great High Society album, and Thou disappeared. Except they're still going strong in Belgium. In 2002 they put out Elvis or Betty Boop, and lord was it hard to get a copy of that, though I think the band have since gotten their act together slightly as far as filling foreign orders. I'll post tracks from it another day, but it's very nice. I'd rank Put Us In Tune slightly higher due to (hate to say this) the fantastic rhythm tracks. Too bad Portishead can't make a career of feeding their extras to Thou.

Prior to Put Us In Tune, Thou had an EP and a full-length that are really, really hard to find if you don't live in Belgium. I have the full-length, Hello In This Sun, and it's promising but fails to gell. Again, I'll do a Thou day at some point and put up some of the better tracks from this one. I still haven't managed to get ahold of the EP, Une Poupee Pour M'Amuser, but I suspect that it's not fully formed either.

Just the other day, I noticed that Thou have yet another album coming out without any international fanfare. Their website is currently under construction, but features a link to a new single, I Won't Go To Nashville from a forthcoming album to be called I Like Girls In Russia (Um, Thou, you might want to take google searching into account when you name your albums). I like the single well enough, but it doesn't amaze me. It does sound good enough that I'm hoping the new album won't be too difficult to find. [After a few days, this song is really growning on me. I was initially put off a bit by the Raveonettes aspect of the main surf-guitar riff, but the song does so much more than that that I'm getting over it. - MB 1/15]

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