Growing up on the east coast and going to school in Boston, I spent some time on Cape Cod. One family vacation there was the idyllic Kennedys-throwing-football-in-a-picturesque-compound sort of Cape Cod experience (with the compound, of course). But not all of Cape Cod is like that, there are small, out-of-the-way towns and there’s the off-season. I’ve walked on the beach with a jacket on and it pouring down cold rain. I can imagine the middle of the winter there is frigid and the winds whip around with abandon, the sort of time where even leaving the house seems like a steep proposition, only to be done when necessary.
While Andy Arch, who records as Tom Thumb (myspace), doesn’t live anywhere permanently, his home base is in Cape Cod and most of his most recent record, the Taxidermist was recorded in a beach house there during the winter months. Just as one isn’t surprised that sunny sounds of the the Morning Benders come out of Berkeley, I’m not surprised that Tom Thumb’s music comes out of a winter on Cape Cod.
The Taxidermist toes a line between various genres. On some songs, like “Providence”, Arch takes indie folk and orchestrates around it in a way that’s reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens. Other songs (“Asleep in the Sawmill”) are closer to Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska in feel, if not in sound–middle Americana if you will. Other songs have a bit of a looped, electronic feel–“Lord, Release Me” is a repeated chant that reminds me of George Harrison and Rhythm of the Saints-era Paul Simon more than Americana or folk.
Overall it’s a good album and a worthwhile listen. If I have one complaint it would be with consistency; while this album has a number of true gems and a few more good songs, it’s unfortunately not without a couple mediocre songs in the mix as well.
Tom Thumb – Providence (mp3)
Tom Thumb – Gypsy Curse (mp3)
Bonus mp3, from a previous EP, Lifeboat: