Cultivated indie-rocker, Fred Thomas, catalogs his mental musings on maturation with his new album Changer. Thomas has been releasing material for over two decades and it seems like this album is his recitation of the summation of his thoughts on the past, present, and future of his experiences. Like his other work, Changer maintains a fairly minimalistic approach but has a mix of various genres from electronic music to “a guy and his guitar” sound. In other words, the album envelopes Fred Thomas’ cluttered mind without being cluttered itself. Thomas does something interesting with his stream-of-conscious style lyrics: he is able to create various scenes and scenarios while simultaneously say/sing what his thoughts are, allowing the listener to fully embody his mind and memories.
The first track, “Misremembered” is a polished-up version of a standard early 90’s indie model. It is easy to hear that Thomas has been jamming since the 90’s in this song because it contains a spread of 90’s nuances that have since been forgotten and are not being replicated by newer artists, or at least it is poorly done and far and few between. The lyrics are a mix of a rambling of imagery and reflections that he reiterates in his sing-speak style. The album has more tracks in the organic lo-fi guitar and vocals style such as “Brick Wall” and “Open Letter To Forever,” but Thomas also embedded some electronic tracks. “Changer” is a pure electronic interlude, and “Echolocation” brings in electronics to replace the guitar as the lead. “Echolocation” rides on an ambient note in the background, and has a synthesized harp on loop. The drum track holds that classic lo-fi noisy yet easy rhythm, lowered and softened with mild distortion, and the song ends with a horn section that takes over and then fades out to reveal the initial loops in reverse.
Fred Thomas has this messy yet tight style, likely stemming from the careless aesthetics popular in 90’s indie-rock. Changer blends both to keep the music from being straight-laced, but also non-clamorous. It is a great listen if hearing fresh material with a genuine sound of the 90’s and early 00’s is an interest. The artist has been playing and recording for a decent amount of time now, has been through many shifts in the culture and industry, and remains strong. Thomas’ career, since Saturday Looks Good To Me, and especially All Are Saved (2015), has received good reviews, and gained him attention, and Changer will continue that trend.