When I first discovered music that expanded commercial radio's boundaries, much of it was found via word of mouth from like-minded people. Music discovery is more accessible these days, but word of mouth is still a powerful discovery tool. I likely wouldn't have learned about this one were it not for a like-minded Facebook group. Swansea musician Edward Hancock's project, The Brain Thunk When It Thailed is the culmination of a host of genres stirred together in a large DIY pot. Honed with a lo-fi aesthetic and honoring experimentation from generations, the album calls up homages to punk, doom, jazz, garage, blues, R&B, and psychedelia. With heavy use of panning and mixing on a simple Portastudio, the album succeeds in sounding like a spaced-out sixties band. That's where the fun begins.
The title, a play on a ship sinking after it has sailed, is accurate on multiple fronts. Reggae-sampled into track "Introlude" descends into fuzzed-out distortion and child-like tinkering, segueing into "Birthing Pool." Shifting and swaying, the album provides a mental workout, at times within a single track. Raw and spacey noise a la Chrome can be heard on "Hopeful Child," while shades of Syd Barrett and Ty Segall co-exist beautifully in "Your Nature." Closing track "The Brain Thunk When It Thailed" twists garage punk and R&B into something oddly compelling before breaking apart into madness.
The album offers little reprieve from the barrage, but this is not a bad thing. Intended to be a single loop, the final track boomerangs back on itself by incorporating the beginning track's musical elements. The album's concept album comes from the idea of the creative brain often functioning like the Titanic. The artist develops a vision and attempts to actualize it; the artist either succeeds or fails, much like a ship sinks or sails ("thails"). Ultimately, this ship is a success, and I look forward to exploring the navigator's next journey, as wild as it may be.
Samples can be found here.