THE INCREDIBLE YEARS
The Incredible Years is the new solo album from London based musician and composer Gareth JS Thomas (guitarist in USA Nails, and formerly of Silent Front and Sly and the Family Drone).
Contrasting intimate recordings on an old family piano with pounding drums tracked on a digital recorder in a London practice room, the record exists between the comfort of home and a frustration at lost momentum.
“Around Christmas 2017 I started tracking the piano parts at my mum’s old house down on the south coast,” explains Gareth. “This is the same piano that I used to noodle on as a little kid, it’s maybe the first instrument I ever touched.”
“I’d intended to finish the tracks off at home in the following weeks but in January 2018 I was in a serious road accident while on tour with my old band (Silent Front), which meant I ended up housebound for a few months. I continued to work on them while I was stuck at home recovering, as I had little else to do, I added the drums in London the summer of 2018.”
The grey metallic hues of Gareth’s previous Bezirk release, Cruising Hits, remain – yet the synthetic palette of that album has been switched for a mix of organic, acoustic instruments. The result is five tracks that switch between smothering claustrophobia and minimalist ecstasy.
“I added big live drums partly to celebrate the freedom I felt when I was able to finally leave the house and use my body again post-accident” he reveals. “The making of this record spanned a very significant period in my life, where I was processing a lot of trauma but also learning to cherish a lot of the things I’d previously taken for granted. I guess it’s only natural that that has been reflected in it.”
The album is accompanied by a video for Hyphen British. Made by Gareth, its source material is CT scans and X-rays that were taken just after the road accident. “They show me at my most unglamorously vulnerable,” he explains. “You can see all the broken bones, it might be more than some people want to see, but it felt appropriate.”