Thousands are exactly as their name does not suggest, a therapeutic two-piece from Seattle (I was expecting and epic post-rock/metal octet from Chicago).
Thousands are also Kristian Garrard and Luke Bergman, proud veterans of the underground Seattle pop scene (it is harder to find an interview where they do not extol the virtues of their friends and peers than one in which they do). Garrard is the chief songwriter, and Bergman the nominal lead guitarist and conceptual/thematic glue.
Thousands is a band who, by design, are open to the mildly pejorative remarks people make about folk and Americana musicians. They have or have at one time had beards. They are fond of checked shirts. They speak a lot about themes and aesthetics and they recorded their independent debut mostly surrounded by nature and/or in one of their own homes.
Sensitive men have made sensitive music before, and frequently to great effect. But it is, to my mind, a bizarre paradox that these musicians, hell-bent on producing primal and intimate music about their own interaction with the world around them, frequently hit it big – at least in indie terms.
Thousands have not really done so, and yet it seems they have hit it big enough. The Sound of Everything was originally recorded in 2009, and, after being referred by Fleet Foxes guitarist Skye Skjelset, the album was re-released and the group signed to Bella Union (also home to Midlake and Beach House, among others). Yet though Garrard and Bergman are beneficiaries of friends in somewhat high places, they are deserving of the spotlight cast by a successful label.
This album is tender. It is the soundtrack of a dying romance, flicking intermittently. It is the hopeful chords of a new season or a new love. It is technically and emotionally fulfilling, equally adept at either.
You can listen on the bus, tracing the chord progressions of Bergman’s delightfully emotive playing, or listen at home, wading in the waters of its melancholy.
The Sound of Everything is an uncommonly apt album title – a collection of beautiful, modest, unassuming songs strengthened by their versatility. This is an album made with love by two men clearly in love with music.
Review score: 8/10