Those of you looking for Thalia to continue in the sound set forth by
her former band, Come, are either going to be pleasantly surprised or
miserably disappointed in her new direction. I'd lay my money on
surprised. Listening to this record there was one immediate thought
that repeatedly came to mind: it's a shame this release will not
receive the great fanfare and praise and record sales it deserves.
Thalia Zedek has a voice all her own. Throw out your Patti Smith
comparisons, as they're neither creative nor warranted. Thalia has the
voice millions would kill or die for. It's there, in its gorgeous
scratchy beauty, in full effect on this, her first solo collection
which contains eleven tracks, three of which are covers (including
Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love" -- a wonderful choice and
execution). Where you think you've heard Thalia before, think again.
This release, if nothing else, proves that no one really KNOWS Thalia,
nor what she is capable of. Chris Brokaw is along for the ride, but he
is not at all in that classic Come form. Very subdued is this music,
and rightfully so. That voice demands it. But the best part of "Been
Here And Gone" is hearing Thalia the songwriter move to the forefront.
By the time you reach "Back To School," the second track, mind you,
you'll almost be haunted out of your skin by this music. Then you hear
the lyrics, and it breaks you. "Can you tell that sometimes I can't
forget that I'm alive?" Incredible. The arrangement is also fittingly
spooky, with viola and trumpet in the most amazing places in the sonic
palette. Sure, it's a far cry from Come, but it sort of had to be,
didn't it? In bringing the sparser, quieter instrumentation to these
songs, Thalia reveals herself for more than she ever has before, and
the listener is blessed for the experience. All in all a fine release,
so listen for yourself, already.