Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Noon: Slowly Creeping Up the Contemporary Christian Charts...

Noon and Eternity notices continue to trickle into HQ. This, the most recent we've received, was published earlier today (11/21).



Noon and Eternity
Menlo Park, 2006
rating: 4.5/5
reviewer: leveer

To Live And Shave In L.A.: Starring Tom Smith's voice.

That's a plausible summation of TLASILA's recorded output. Not exactly helpful and definitely not thorough, but it is more or less accurate. Of course, Tom Smith has been the proverbial Nick Mason, or Anton Newcombe, of the band. That is to say, the only constant member.* And like Newcombe, and not so much like Mason — the alpha and omega — one can, and must, track the evolution of the group through him. So, we go into any TLASILA record with a curiosity as to what TS has dreamt up. And to wit, being a rat of Hamelin has been a worthwhile pursuit: from the collagery and unhingedness of 30-minuten männercreme to the singular brutality of Vedder Vedder Bedwetter to the (comparably) restrained musicality and techno of Amour Fou on the Edge of Misogyny. This brings us to the shining moment of the new millennium's musical output, The Wigmaker in Eighteenth Century Williamsburg. It is this album that wins TS's abhorrence of the explicative "noise" acceptability and furthermore drives you to reconsider appreciating anything that bills itself as noise. There can surely be no music that is simultaneously so pummeling to your visceral senses and so utterly exquisite. Every horrible sound is heard in perfect fidelity, every sonic contrast thoroughly effective. We are thus formally introduced to the real star of a To Live and Shave in L.A. record, Tom Smith's curatorial abilities.

Noon and Eternity marries these two forces in a heretofore unfamiliar way. The previously raw tumult of Tom's vocals has been replaced with disciplined concordance with the whole. No longer fettered with his dense and verbose poetry, his voice can work purely as the worthy instrument that it had only inconsistently been before. And whatever the motives may be, Noon and Eternity is eminently listenable for almost any audience that might be inclined to listen to a TLASILA record, or read this review for that matter. While indubitably canonical, it strikes far out from the pack; it does resemble the new form of psych that the press pack suggests. Rarely does the intent turn to abrasiveness, and if it does, it is entirely justified as part of an arcing narrative. This is the most conventional and, meanwhile, possibly the most completely realized To Live and Shave album. Not quite (nearly?) the achievement that was The Wigmaker, Noon and Eternity ought to make waves not quite as big, but further reaching, this time as a result of Tom Smith and TLASILA as a whole.


* Rat has been a member of the group from the outset; his tenure is of equivalent length to mine (TS), 1991-present.

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