Thou started out as a modest band in the beginning of the nineties. As Bart
Vincent, the singer and guitarist of the band said later "six years ago
Thou sounded like Dinosaur Jr. and Buffalo Tom, very naïve almost-melodies.
Fine, but that wouldn't make it today anymore". They continued like
this for some years, making music in their home "but we felt we weren't
good enough yet".
The first the world heard of Thou is a mini album called 'Une poupée pour
m'amuser', released in February 1997 on the Dutch Brinkman record label (also
the home for Nemo and Bettie Serveert). The mini-album
was described as "Twin-peaks-like thrillerpop".
They quietly started touring and slowly got a foot between the door. Things
changed when, prior to the release of their first full album "Hello in
this sun" in March 1998, the single "Swing" made it to the
airwaves. The single was welcomed by the Belgian audience and made it comfortably
into "de Afrekening", the main alternative chart of Flanders.
They toured as an opener for Grandaddy and the album got a very big reception.
Gazet van Antwerpen wrote "the debut cd 'Hello in this sun' confirmes
: with Thou there is finally a your Belgian group who deserves more than a sympathetic
pad on the shoulder. This Ghent-based answer to dEUS sounds
adventurous, a tad mysterious and is crazy about Portishead and Twin Peaks. Why
wait to discover them ??"
Humo was less enthusiastic : "Thou (Sonic Youth meets Portishead meets
a very bad soundtrack) has an album out which has its merits, but could've done
with a song mòre like "P.M.You" or "Swing"." That's
not exactly the reception dEUS got with its first release, but who knows ...
After Brinkman went broke, the band had to record a second album with private
funding. English producer John Parish (not their first choice, that was Flood,
because he did PJ Harvey's album "To Bring You My Love") did take things
in his hands (a low budget-studio in Bristol, hosting, guest-musicians ...) to
record "Put us in Tune" in 2000. On return in Belgium, the band
did get some of the costs back by signing a record deal with company PIAS, who
released the single "Weak Lady"
and the album in May 2000.
About a year later the album was also released - with a different cover - in the
U.S.A. on the label SeeThru Broadcasting (the label of Dave Sardy, of Barkmarket
and producer of Soulwax, who'll also release Mauro).
College radio's seemt to love it, 'cause at release "Put us in tune"
entered the CMJ-airplaycharts at n°42. The CMJ review went "Thou is
often tagged with the now reductive trip-hop term, thanks to its slinky drum loops
and seductive female vocalists. But Put Us In Tune, the Belgian duo's third album
(and first U.S. release), defies such easy categorization at every turn. Produced
by PJ Harvey producer/guitarist John Parish, the album makes full use of its disparate
(and often opposing) musical sensibilities: whirring guitar effects rub up against
shuffling snares; soft, sanguine pop vocals are juxtaposed with layers of decaying
synths and strings; sputtering techno rhythms are smudged into the melodic fragments
of flugelhorns and white-noise guitar burn. Taken in individual pieces, it's nothing
new. But the band's loose, experimental use of these textures in conjunction with
their own fickle stylistic turns - a single song may suggest a dark, neo-noir
setting before introducing its sly hook of a chorus - results in an unpredictable
mix of odd-pop payoff and mood-twisting playfulness."
- Bart Vincent (vocals, guitar)
- Does De Wolf (vocals, keyboards)
- Bart de Poortere (bass)
- Kurt Devylder / Tom Dewulf (drums)
Buy CD's of this band at
- Une poupée pour m'amuser (Brinkman, 1997).
- Hello in this sun (Brinkman, Rough Trade, 1998)
- Put us in tune (PIAS, 2000)
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