Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Fred Thomas

  • All Are Saved [Polyvinyl, 2015] *
  • Changer [Polyvinyl, 2017] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

All Are Saved [Polyvinyl, 2015]
You can hear him coming out of his funk better if you let the words come to you rather than hanging on every one ("Bed Bugs," "Every Song Sung to a Dog") *

Changer [Polyvinyl, 2017]
'Tis a story oft told that this part-time indie-rocker switched gears into confessional stream-of-consciousness with 2015's All Are Saved and indie-rockers liked it so much that he quit his job, got married, moved to Canada, took up music full-time, and generated a follow-up. What few bards detail is that these two pieces of confessional stream-of-consciousness are radically different, not structurally or philosophically but in general come-hither. All Are Saved is pure sad sack, so bummed only convinced depressives will have the gumption to take in its stealth tunes and smart details--his father's flannel shirts smelling of cigarattes and rain, the "overworked doctor smoking in the doorway of the clinic." Changer was cut by a guy on the upswing his bio suggests. The melodies are right there; there's a bite in his strum and a lilt in his snark as he calls out assholes for what they are: "Olympia street punks--the worst!" I recommend that he henceforth resist the temptation to excavate the past, his college days especially, and instead mine his present. Montreal--what's it like? How did kicking nicotine work out for you? A-