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Review: Detours by Thought Beneath Film

Detours is a welcome and encouraging milestone for a band that aims to say something important in a musical language of catchy hooks, warm vocals and thick, gutsy rhythm.

By Ryan McGreal
Published July 27, 2012

A new project by brothers Brent and Brian Wirth brings together a talented roster of Hamilton-area musicians to craft a crisp, melodic EP that promises great things to come.

The band, Thought Beneath Film, is composed of Brent on vocals and guitar, Brian on guitar, David Lindsay on guitar and vocals, CJ Ricottone on bass and vocals, and Matt Foster on drums. According to the band bio, the name comes from an Emily Dickinson poem and "speaks to the unseen interpretations that can be found by looking in a 'different light.'"

Thought Beneath Film
Thought Beneath Film

Their new CD, Detours, is a five-song EP with a clean musical arc and a tight thematic continuity. Muscular alt-rock guitars combine with quirky indie keyboards and catchy backup vocals of the "bap bap ba she-bap bap ba" and "woo-ooo-ooo" variety, all wrapped in a sweeping production by legendary sound engineers Bob Ludwig and Tom Lord-Alge.

Combined with the SoCal-pop-punk vocal stylings of singer Brent Wirth, the EP strongly recalls the Blink 182-meets-U2 sound of Tom DeLonge's Angels And Airwaves supergroup.

Thematically, the EP is an introspective snapshot of an artist on the cusp, preparing to take a frightening leap into the unknown. In "False Skin", Brent sings: "I feel I'm on the brink of something new/I feel I'm on the brink of something true/Feels like I'm gonna break/'Cause I'm tired of overthinking everything".

In "Hearts On Overdrive", he continues: "It kinda feels like my heart has been breaking up inside/My feet are tired and my hands have been shaking, can't run and hide/It kinda seems like someone has been making up my mind."

It is perhaps fitting that Detours took such a long, twisting road to birth: it spanned 18 months, three separate recordings and three different engineers before the band realized the uncompromising sound they wanted.

The result is an album that sounds fully-baked: rich, dense and layered without getting buried under a wall of reberb and muddle. My only complaint (prepare to be invited off my lawn) is that the dynamic range compression falls prey to the Loudness war and the music starts to exhaust my ears after repeated listens.

All in all, Detours is a welcome and encouraging milestone for a band that aims to say something important in a musical language of catchy hooks, warm vocals and thick, gutsy rhythm. I can't wait to see how their planned full-length album will sound.

Thought Beneath Film are playing a release party for Detours on Saturday, July 28 at The Casbah, 306 King Street West (at Queen), Hamilton, with Black Rhino Riot and The Boys Girl Band opening.

Copies of the EP will be for sale at Casbah, and you can buy it online in CD, digital or limited edition vinyl format. You can also sample "If I Could Fix You (You Know That I Would)" and "Sixty-Six" on Soundcloud.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.

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By Today (anonymous) | Posted July 29, 2012 at 00:41:57

Not bad, they remind me a bit of Low Level Flight.

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted July 31, 2012 at 09:22:54

Thanks for that link to "loudness war"--everyone's just turning it up to eleven, aren't they?

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