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Thrones, "Day Late, Dollar Short"

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Thrones is better known as the work of Joe Preston, the man of a thousand bands (Earth, The Melvins, Sunn O))), High on Fire, etc) and of limited edition releases. This is a (thankfully unlimited) collection of various singles, rarities and unreleased material from about the last ten years on one handy disc. It is one oddball collection to say the least.



Southern Lord
 
The variety of material on Day Late, Dollar Short is immense. I was expecting something along the lines of what Earth are doing now judging from the style of the cover (designed by Stephen O’Malley whose work graces the covers of half the music I buy lately) but that adage about covers and judging holds true. There are the expected dirges and snail’s-pace sludge tracks but then there is also a slew of other surprises: weird carnival music, an odd Enya-like synth piece and a selection of balls-to-the-wall covers. There’s little time to get your bearings with each track as they seem to be put in an order that will cause the most disorientation possible for the listener. Just as I get used to the slow, sludgy tracks, Preston does a U-turn and slaps me with a trout in the shape of “Epicus Doomicus Dumpitus,” which sounds like the soundtrack to a Japanese role playing videogame.

Day Late, Dollar Short starts off with “The Suckling,” which is exactly what I was expecting from Thrones. It is all detuned, guttural guitars and fucked up vocals. It plods along like a dinosaur on valium before suddenly I find myself in the middle of a killer cover of “Young Savage” by Ultravox. It is the kind of song to get a fist pumping in the air very easily. There are a couple of other covers on the album, both of which are excellent. “Black Blade” (originally Blue Öyster Cult) is a psychedelic, lost in the desert version of the original. However, the real gem of a cover is the gobsmackingly ridiculous cover of The Who’s “A Quick One While He’s Away.” It starts off with heavily processed barber shop vocals and finishes with a mindfuck of bizarre electronics, booming drums and unhuman high pitched vocals (think Alvin the Chipmunk impersonating an ebowed guitar).

Apart from covering other people’s work, the original material by Thrones is also of note. “Senex” is a long and highly disturbing track: the guitars play extremely repetitively to a programmed beat while a scary, mechanical voice speaks over the music. When the song breaks down into a monstrously huge riff it’s like all of earth has been swallowed whole by god knows what. “Coal Stick” and “Obolus” continue the heavier than heavy riffage to devastating effect. Elsewhere, Preston shows his more peculiar side with “Silvery Colorado” and “Oracle,” both of which employ watery sounding vocals and a cheesy organ sound (with the latter breaking into a totally unexpected stadium rock finale).

Day Late, Dollar Short is a fantastic collection of eccentric and inimitable songs. Thrones can sometimes teeter towards novelty but the warped humour pulls it back from the edge. I’ve always liked Preston’s work with the other bands mentioned above but this is the first time I’ve heard the man doing his own thing and it well and truly floored me. Simply put, this is a blinder of an album.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 January 2006 00:25  


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