Thom Yorke vocal stylings are impossible to ignore, especially on
"Townspapre" and "The Bells of St. John," which
have that same lilting, end-of-the-world stare that Radiohead emotes
on their catalog of downlow numbers. As long as we're all on the
same page about the vocal thing, the instrumental part is, for the
most part, only vaguely like RH. Instead of electronics, we get
acoustics as in piano and guitar and handclaps and bells. Sometimes
there is a compulsion to add electronic sound effects, maybe in
an effort to make it even more Radiohead-like, but I doubt it.
Sister in charge, Topeka's Martinez Hillard, has a knack for finding
simple, splendid, laidback pop melodies. Despite the first-rate
recording quality, it would be easy to cast this aside as too simplistic,
especially when you consider that it's basically a demo. The Beatlesque
(in a Paul sort of way) "Looking for a Dinner Date" is
Hillard pounding out a 4/4 on a piano for five and a half minutes
while someone plays with a synthesizer in the background (in an
OK Computer sort of way). And when he stretches out over
eight minutes, he manages to find his groove.
There is something rustic
and relevant in everything he does, as if that Topeka dust has gotten
into his veins. Get out of Kansas, my friend. Get out of Kansas
and see the world.
Posted Aug. 5, 2003.
Copyright © 2003 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
is something rustic and relevant in everything he does, as if
that Topeka dust has gotten into his veins."