A full listen of Fred Thomas’ All Are Saved is perhaps an overwhelming endeavor at first, when confronted with its beautifully humble, yet boldly passionate vocal parts contrasting against the plethora of instrumental incorporations. The complexities of this record arrive and depart in brief visits, encircled by a base core of pleasant melodies and honest lyrics, leaving only a moment to question their motives before being immersed in the surrounding swarm of pretty sounds. The inclusion of the external effects, much like his approach to writing the songs, come in diverse and erratic intervals. In a recent interview with Liz Pelly, Thomas notes instances of songs’ creations coming out of “a period of insane isolation and severe loneliness, and a kind of reveling in the pain of loneliness that was being replaced by a jubilant, nearly uncontrollable kind of instantaneous reflection on what felt like all the different parts of my life running together.”
The opening track. “Every Song Sung to a Dog” plays almost like a musical drama, with lengthy and pensive recitatives, and it sets the stage (so to speak) for the rest of the avant-garde approach to the record. Strange percussion, electronics, synthetic horns are just some of the effectual brilliance injected into Thomas’ harmonies, utilized as backing for what is undoubtedly a poet outpouring a monologue. They enter, sometimes at the beginning (as on “When They Built the Schools” and “Unfading Flower”), sometimes in the middle (as on “July,” and “Thesis (Lear)”), but their presence seem to leave, a guest opening the door, stepping in for a moment, and then bidding adieu, but leaving its impression on your sofa cushions as it fades in and melds with the melodic groundwork laying the path for Thomas’ honest voice.
All Are Saved is out April 7 via Polyvinyl Records. You can read our feature interview with Thomas here.