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Thomas Truax - 'Monthly Journal'

by AlanAshtonSmith
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on 02 February 2012 in Albums & EPs
Record Label Blang Records
Rating 6/10
Thomas Truax's penchant for inventing peculiar mechanical instruments, such as a bastardised gramophone horn called the 'Hornicator', and 'Mary Poppins', whose components include spoons and a motorcycle headlight, have played no small part in the fact that he's regarded as a steampunk musician.  But while this is something that immediately comes across when you can see his creations, it's much more difficult to pin down a steampunk sound.  Maybe Truax is hoping to distract listeners from attempting to do so by imposing the conceit of Monthly Journal: its twelve songs were written and recorded at the rate of one a month throughout 2011.  Consequently they combine personal feelings with reflections on globally significant events.  As the year advances he seems to get into the swing of the project: early on, the line 'It's only January, and maybe things are really just beginning', is a bit heavy handed, but subtler tracks like 'Free As Fireflies In May' work well.  Finally, 'Family & Friends' manages the rare trick of acting as a Christmas song that can be enjoyed all year round.  As might be expected of a record that has had such an unusual gestation, Monthly Journal is uneven, but there is charm in its eccentricity.

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