Like Heath Robinson, madcap American musician Thomas Truax is synonymous with elaborate inventions and eccentric notions. He’s forever lurking in the margins – far too accomplished to be an outsider artist, yet far too odd for the mainstream. This paradox makes him extremely cool, without even trying too hard. For this album, he teams up with legendary percussionist Budgie, hero to anyone with even a passing interest in post-punk and goth (he has of course been in The Slits, The Creatures and most famously, Siouxsie and the Banshees). It’s not just a pairing though, as the third part is Mother Superior, his latest invention, a mechanical drum machine.
As with much of Truax’s back catalogue, there is a noir-ish, chanson flavour to some of the tracks. This is, after all, the man who recently covered David Lynch songs. Tropical birds and strange soundscape effects capture the otherworldly scenarios of Truax’s songwriting. Dream Catching Song is a typically cinematic croon, languid and twangy, with Truax coming on like a darker contemporary of Vic Godard or Edwyn Collins. Budgie, meanwhile, plays with typical flair and vibrancy, and restraint when called for.
Left turns are what shape the album. Everything’s Going To Be All Right, a swingin’ space pop/punk mash-up is like a giddy song from a missing Mael brother. Meanwhile Origami Spy Arrives In Paper Boat is a shimmering instrumental, and The Anomalous Now resonates with cracked drama. But even in the heart of darkness, it seems, there is always a sliver of light.