A Strange Odyssey

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Thomas Giles doesn’t exist. The name is a pseudonym for a solo artist’s torrid musical affair away from his main band. The results are shattering

Thomas Giles Roger Jr is an interesting chap. As frontman for Between the Buried and Me he’s usually collaborating with the rest of the band to craft vicious and uncompromising material.

So far the decade long commitment has produced a string of wonderful indie albums well-received by the press and fans alike. On Pulse, however, dear Thomas turns his back on what he’s familiar with to explore realms unknown. Though uninteresting at first impression, Pulse rewards the listener so long as they are willing to go down the proverbial rabbit hole with Tommy. Pulse in its entirety proves a multi-colored wonderland ornamented with electronica, acoustic tenderness, and mutitudinous odd touches. It takes a rare kind of artist to pull off the flesh tingling immensity of Pulse. Thank the heavens then that the unformed conscience of musical fanhood found Thomas Giles, genre-bender extraordinnaire and brilliant visionary musician.

Pulse gets off to an unassuming start with Sleep Shake, a lethargic ballad that explodes with cathedral choir majesty so stunning it makes your skin crawl. When the power of Sleep Shake reaches its full potential, prepare to feel tempted for a replay. It’s worth several and each time hardly diminishes its impact. Follow up Reverb Island is just as impressionable but tends to meld with Mr. Bird, both songs showcasing the eclecticism Thomas prefers working with. The man wears many hats, including pop, jazz, electronica, and death metal. The utmost glory of Pulse, however, erupts on Hamilton Anxiety Complex, a weird outpouring of gurgled throat noises, steady beats, Latin percussion, and the mightiest chorus on God’s earth that won’t be equaled for the next 50 years.

Much to the relief of listeners anxious whether the album’s momentum would crash and burn past the halfway mark, excellence reigns througho­ t Pulse’s latter half. Beginning with the acoustic sophistication of Scared, a rare delight whose mood evokes warmth and love. It would make a great chill out track if it weren’t buttressed by harder offerings; comes to show how versatile Thomas Giles is, comfortable in any skin and a complete master of the song writing process. It must be understood that the North Carolina native belongs to a unique generation of American musicians who came into their own during the late 90s. They collectively altered the musical landscape with a great creative outpouring of impressive albums that shamed the corporate curated mainstream crowd’s own insipid tastes.

Having indulged in a lengthy aside, it’s imperative that this review return to its gist—that being the overwhelming power of a diverse album. Pulse proceeds to rebuild the listener’s enthusiasm for surprising turns on its latter half, namely with Reject Falicon and the aural assault Medic where Giles returns to his extreme roots. The album’s pace takes a contemplative turn for Suspend The Death Watch before the final farewell Hypoxia leaves a magical afterglow. The real draw of Pulse is the diversity and unpredictable momentum overwhelms whatever initial misgivings the listener might have. As a further testament to his uncelebrated genius, Thomas Giles wrote and recorded the whole album himself. Subliminally excellent on multiple levels, Pulse is not for the feeble minded.

Print ed: 10/11


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