Baltimore’s music scene, having grown more prominent on the national stage since the likes of Beach House and Animal Collective directed the press’ gaze there, is surprisingly vast given that the city itself isn’t massive. On one end, there’s the darkly dreamy assault of Celebration, and on the other, the spastic Nintendo party jams of Dan Deacon, with post-hardcore elder statesmen like Lungfish somewhere in between, or perhaps on a separate plane entirely. Thank You, however, seems to fit in perfectly with such a diverse group of musicians, as the band’s music actually finds a happy medium between the minimal punk rock meditations of Lungfish and the hyperactive iPod explosion of Deacon. That looks absurd when written; such combinations don’t typically lend themselves to successful execution. But Thank You has just the right amount of imagination, not to mention an adequate level of crazy, to pull it off.
Spanning six songs in 30 minutes, Thank You’s Golden Worry is epic but urgent, expansive but impulsive. Jeffrey McGrath, Michael Bouyoucas and Emmanuel Nicolaidis, each credited with playing “everything,” take their post-hardcore constructions to monumental heights, building exciting, abrasive and sometimes beautiful compositions out of jagged guitars and rapid-fire drum attacks. The warp speed tremolo picking of leadoff track “1-2-3 Bad” lets you know exactly what you’re getting into. It launches headfirst into a soaring post-hardcore breakdown that resembles nothing so much as a janglier Lightning Bolt. Meanwhile, “Birth Reunion” incorporates exotic sounds via analog keyboards, offering a completely different sound than the track that preceded it. “Pathetic Magic” is oddly beautiful, though certainly raw, and “Continental Divide” manages to be both catchy and unsettling. Come to think of it, most of these songs seem to fit that description.
Thank You represent the best and the bravest of Baltimore’s music scene, if not necessarily the most accessible. But while Golden Worry may leave the listener with little space to process the hectic and frenzied sounds bursting through the speakers, the visceral experience is ultimately a thrilling one. Thank You do a lot with a little, making far more noise and constructing much more massive sonic monuments than a trio is typically capable of. Perhaps they should be called You’re Welcome, instead.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.