Music, Pop Culture

Thomas Truax (feat. Budgie and Mother Superior) Releases New Album

Whether hesitantly indulging in the swagger of an eccentric melody here or flirting with highly experimental themes in “A Wonderful Kind of Strange” or “Free Floaters,” Thomas Truax puts on a masterclass in musicianship in his performance across his new album with Budgie and Mother Superior, titled simply Dream Catching Songs, and even though the record has debuted to more of an underground audience than it has a mainstream one, Truax’s passion has propelled this tracklist into the headlines and given listeners worldwide interest in giving it a spin.

“Big Bright Marble” aches with a distant emotionality I often associate with straight folk music alone, while “The Anomalous Now,” “Birds & Bees,” and “A Little More Time” actually sound more evenhanded as hybrids than they ever would anything else. From one song to the next, this tracklist feels more and more progressive in tone, taking us into the heart of its designer and consistently reminding us that he’s putting all of himself on the line in this piece. His vulnerabilities are fodder for every cathartic moment contained in Dream Catching Songs, and even if this weren’t the case, the chops he shows off in every composition are enough to make this a stone-cold classic by any measurement.

The arrangement in “Origami Spy Arrives in Paper Boat” and “Birds & Bees” illustrates a passive style of melodicism that I don’t hear enough of out of the mainstream, which shouldn’t exactly come as much of a surprise to those who keep up with the underground these days. Budgie and Mother Superior’s beats in “The Anomalous Now” and especially “A Little More Time” are as essential to the storytelling in Dream Catching Songs as any of the verses they offer us are, and in several key junctures between “Dream Catching Song” and the conclusive “The Fisherman’s Wishing Well Prayer,” I’d say the instrumentation takes over a lot of the heavy lifting for the vocal.

This isn’t because Truax doesn’t have the skills to cut it in these scenarios, but instead because of his commitment to giving us the whole nine yards when it comes to quality tonality on the back and front ends of the mix. There’s no shortchanging us on organic melodicism in this LP, and that’s far more than can be said for the vast majority of new albums to have come across my desk in 2023.

If you haven’t heard this LP yet, for whatever reason, I think this March would make for the perfect time to see why critics have regarded Dream Catching Songs as one of the best studio works of the new spring season. There’s a striking precision to the way every note of music is delivered to us in this album, and while it’s the latest major release we’ve heard from Thomas Truax to date, I don’t think it’s going to mark the only epic effort he drops in this emerging decade. There’s a lot to be said about his chemistry with Budgie and Mother Superior, but from where I stand, there’s only one real star of this show.

Cleopatra Patel

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