At first, I was hesitant to review this album. The two members, Andrew Thiboldeaux and Chris Ward, run in some of the same circles as I do within the Philadelphia music scene. I was worried what if, as a previous reviewer put it, “Pattern Is Garbage.” After a few listens to the album, it was clear this couldn’t be further from the truth.
All Together is an album that takes you on a journey. At first, you may require a little arm twisting, but once you get there, you are glad you went along. Inspired by a series of discarded photographs Thiboldeaux found in a Philadelphia neighborhood, each song has a particular thread or plot line that engages the listener.
The first song, “Bird,” immediately reaches out and grabs you. At times Thiboldeaux calls and responds to his own declarations. He implores “I will never, all together, I will never I, again,” leading into a repeat of the various lines just sang. It’s as if he’s subliminally demanding that you be engaged. And as the song progresses you are enthralled. The deep drum kick sounds of Ward’s beats keep the song up beat and full of movement in line with the keyboards.
All Together is an album that seems to go all over. While the band does have a distinctive sound in general, each song is sort of in its on little sonic world, almost as if they are snapshots of sub albums. This is probably by design seeing as each song was inspired by a distinct photo.
In “Trolley Friend,” Thiboldeaux once again goes into command mode. “Next in line / Get on, get on, get on.” Assuming the roles of both trolley driver and passenger. With “Sound Of Your Voice” Thiboldeaux sings probably what his listeners are thinking, “I just like the sound of your voice…”, while Ward’s rapid fire drumming on snares and symbols keeps you moving through the song. This is a common thread with the bands songs. On one hand, Thiboldeaux’s voice is so soothing you could imagine him serenading a pack of wild dogs to sleep, while Ward’s drum breaks keep the whole thing going.
The rest of the album is an up and down roller coaster ride of various clashing sounds and feels. One can’t help but be thrown when Thiboldeaux sings in “Jenny Ono,” “Jenny Ono, I’m finished being gay” and throws back to an earlier song “Trolley Friend.”
The ride through this great album, available now, comes landing down with “Elephant”, a mixture of smooth lyrics and a rhythmic bass drum, bringing the listener to a gentle conclusion of an awesome and eclectic album.