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St Thomas | I'm Coming Home (Racing Junior)
Already released on his native soil, (and due here via City Slang in the new year), and already enjoying a wealth of critical acclaim in the wake of the recent Cornerman EP, 'I'm Coming Home' should consolidate the celebrity status of Thomas Hansen. The twenty-something Norwegian lo-fi folk hero has taken a step up from the murky four-track hiss of 'Mysterious Walks' utilising the eight-track recording prowess of Ai Phoenix's Robert Jønnum and employing both Jønnum and bandmate Espen Mellingem among the six supporting musicians. Whilst one cannot ignore the Neil Young vocal stylings of Hansen, there's a freshness in his naïve wordplay and worldview that takes you beyond a quick comparison. Opener The Cool Song, which picks up the musical baton from last year's Born Again and begins with the fanciful verse "I've never seen a cowboy before / Never told a story so sore / Hey baby take a look at me / I think I'm ready for the kickdown / I can never give you in / Have you ever seen my chin / An umbrella is dancing on the corner / Now everything is beyond her" encapsulates this paradox. What prevents all this from throwaway fluff is the infectious nature of the music and Hansen's personality which shines throughout. He captures a spirit of community in a classic folky, campfire way without resorting to flower-power dippiness. Instead, like Will Oldham, he appears contemporary whilst dredging up the past, reminding us just how new pop music is in the grand scheme of things.
CWAS #9 - Winter 2002