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Thomas Truax | Full Moon Over Wow Town (Breakin' Beats)
I'm reliably informed Thomas Truax has an illustrious past as a stop-motion animator, notably on 'Celebrity Deathmatch'. He also has become a very popular live performer in his native NYC, according to the press release, but having seen Sheffield's Boy On A Dolphin fill the City Hall, I know that just because music is popular does not mean it isn't utterly mediocre. 'Full Moon Over Wowtown' is a perfect example of this. Truax seems to aim for the same kind of atmosphere created by Tom Waits' 'Rain Dogs,' all winos and gypsies and Coney Island freaks, but whereas that album pulled it off with slavering, skull tapping insanity, this sounds like a pale facsimile. Partly this is due to the production, which makes everything sound like it was played on a Yamaha keyboard, clipped and dull. But if the music is strong enough, we all know it can transcend the method of its recording, and Truax's generally isn't. Take Aphrodesiac (sic) Incense, nigh-on six-minutes long and doing nothing. It literally goes nowhere, barely even trying to inspire a reaction in its listener. Or the tortuous two-chord 'stomper' of a title track that just keeps going and going with a melody that was weak as a kitten in the first place. He even has the cheek to slip some false endings in there, only for it to start up with that same "Full moon...over Wowtown" refrain again! It's not completely without its moments, as the brilliantly unexpected sax solos at the end of Shooting Stars prove. Towards the end as well, with the instrumental Moon Catatonia, laced with eastern European strings by Meredith Yayanos, and the actually quite nice She'd Close One Of Her Eyes, things begin to pick up. However, the sheer weight of the mediocrity that precedes it sinks this ol' ship right down to the ocean floor.

Jamie Crewe
March-April 2004