From the first ambient sounds of Then Thicken’s first record label release Death Cap at Anglezarke, I pictured a walk through a secluded, bright forest opening. Quickly, however, the mood of the song changed and the track grew into a slow anthem with the repeating “But Heaven won’t wait too long… But if another angel calls, I’ll come.” The song sets the tone for the album, emotionally and musically.
Death Cap at Anglezarke harnesses a multitude of influential elements. Reaching for Arcade Fire type stadium heights on “Any Other Thing” and Queens of the Stone Age rock-ability on the excellent alternative “Death Cap,” Then Thickens creates a loveable and diverse album. There are definitely radio-friendly songs in the mix, like “Matthew” and the first single “Tiny Legs,” but they fit in with the rest of the album and don’t come off as too poppy. My personal favorite on the album, however, is probably “Run Off,” a slow song that builds up into a powerful outro similar to bands like Pearl Jam in the early 90s.
Throughout the whole album, no song seems unoriginal; each tune has its own tempo, melody, and mood. Whether it’s a powerful anthem, a slow burner with perfect harmonies, or a gritty alternative jam, Then Thickens keeps you interested in each song while the anticipation for the next constantly builds. Lyrically, writer Jon-Lee Martin tells simply about personal experiences, with women and friends. A compelling emotional song, “Ritalin Love,” tells of a close friend who struggles with a Ritalin addiction. “I never really noticed that you were so thin, your lifeless complexion I should color you in,” Martin sings over a brooding, dark melody that becomes heavier as the song goes on. On the likeable “Matthew,” Martin sings “If I was God for just one day, and if I was God, I’d make the wind change, so you could stick around.” The track reveals a heartbroken Martin who has just lost a friend. On the whole album, Martin’s voice plus Helen Thorpe’s harmonies compliment the music perfectly, with echo and reverb effects creating a big sound that could fill stadiums.
What started as a low-fi project from Jon-Lee Martin has turned into an indie-rock group that definitely has radio potential and stadium potential, as long as they keep growing. They should become a fairly common name in the indie scene within the next few years, and even beyond.
Death Cap At Anglezarke will be available May 5 via Hatch Records.
Review By Mike Avdey