t - Pareidoliving

(CD 2022, Giant Electric Pea Limited)

The tracks:
  1- The Same Old Everything(13:34)
  2- The Light At The End Of The Light(8:51)
  3- How Not To Speak(2:21)
  4- The Idiot's Prayer(5:30)
  5- The Scars Of The Sky(10:02)
  6- Behind This Pale Face(9:46)
  7- A Relevant Lovesong(10:53)
  8- Tell The Neighbours We're Fine(10:30)

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Released at the beginning of 2022, Pareidoliving is the latest album by t. Better known as Thomas Thielen. The German multi-instrumentalist, singer, writer, producer and pretty much everything else on this (what can't this man do?) has presented us with an album that you can tell has been made with great care and attention to detail. Across all eight songs the music offers multiple layers of instrumentation, built upon a lyrically emotional foundation. The artwork has a different feel to other progressive rock album imagery, adding to the brooding charm of this release and giving it more of a film poster quality.

Two, Three, Four is whispered and we're into the first song on the album, The Same Old Everything. The first cut here is the longest on the album and gives us a good indication of the journey the songs will take us on, ebbing and flowing through its thirteen plus minutes. It's a dynamic slice of music with the vocals immediately making their mark and those rich keyboard sounds filling the background with real depth and warmth. There's also delicate acoustic guitar, sombre strings, a solid rhythmic core and angelic choir-like vocals that remind me of a Danny Elfman soundtrack. All the ingredients found in this one song are present across the rest of the album, giving it a feeling of being one continuous piece of music, rather than a selection of individual tracks. A great way to start proceedings. The Light At The End Of The Light arrives next and immediately gets things moving. Those angelic backing vocals are present once more, giving the song an extra dimension that I really enjoy. The electric guitar playing sounds huge on this track and there's even a tasty little keyboard solo towards the end - I won't say no to that! Gorgeous piano/keyboards fill the space on How Not To Speak. It's a dreamy, mostly instrumental piece and the shortest song on the album. Towards the end you can hear someone saying You're running out of time and the sound of whispering, a heart beating and a telephone ringing. It feels like the opening sequence to a near death experience, but manages to act as a little breathing space in between all the bigger, lengthier tracks. The Idiot's Prayer immediately kicks in next and sounds like a combination of Marillion and U2. The shimmering guitar sounds on this are massive and could fill a stadium. When t sings Rewind and Restart, I believe it's something we've all felt like doing at some point in our lives. Being one of the shorter songs here, it is more accessible, but still manages to retain a progressive 'edge'. This is a standout song on the album for me and would be the perfect candidate for a single release. Suddenly it ends and we're into the chaotic The Scars Of The Sky which is complete with pulsing bass, wild keyboards and screaming electric guitar. There's a nice energy about this one and it's certainly the most rocking track on the album. You can really feel the emotions bubbling away on Beyond This Pale Face, as there's a real sadness in the way the vocals are delivered. The opening keyboard/piano section, which is briefly repeated halfway through, is a really nice touch. A Relevant Lovesong opens simply with guitar and vocal and there's some lovely, layered vocals going on within this song too. It's a great example of how dynamic punches are used on the album to great effect, lifting the mood for a moment before crashing back down, similar to the ups and downs of certain relationships. Despite the title, it's probably not a song you'd choose to put on a valentine's mixtape, but it's still a great song, nonetheless. It ends with haunting piano being played over a spoken word message that says, Stay calm, wait patiently. This then flows seamlessly into the final track, Tell The Neighbours We're Fine. It's a strong way to finish the album with its apocalyptic opening which sounds very cinematic. Playing out like a drama for the big screen, I feel it works well with the artwork to create a fully realised vision for this album. The vocal refrain of I'm not the one is simply heart-breaking. The music then continues to build and build with gorgeous keyboards, driving electric guitar and piano, ending the album as dramatically as it began. My favourite song on the album at the time of writing.

This is most certainly a lengthy, layered and dynamic album. Going into this I was not familiar with any of his previous output, but if this album is anything to go by, there is much great music to be discovered. The vocals being the highlight for me, they manage to be both melancholic and strangely comforting at the same time. Having the vision to create an album like this shows that Thomas Thielen is a truly talented individual - it's melancholia done on a grand scale. Certainly one to sit down with, headphones on, drink in hand and give your undivided time to. It's available to purchase from his website - please find the link to this below.

**** Rickalonius Monk

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