This Then Thickens article was written by Ben Malkin, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Adam Barrett.
‘Colic’ sees Then Thickens follow up 2014’s ‘Death Cap at Anglezarke’ with deep, personal lyrics, accessible melodies and polished production. Said previous release showcased the Lancashire band’s love of exploring different approaches to writing, playing and producing – based off influences that stem from major rock acts from the 1960s to the 1990s. The basic outline of the band remains on this new record, but with some changes, and some progression.
The album gets off to a bright start with the glittering piano riff of ‘Heaven Alive’. Anyone who has listened to Then Thickens before will realise that things are now sounding a lot more sparkly and rich, but still with a few nods to their previous, more lo-fi approach. The instruments are continuously arranged and layered in a way that allows the listener to completely understand everything that is going on, with ‘Dirty Letter’ being the pinnacle example; speaker-busting saw synthesizers buzz and vibrate for the majority of the song, while the bare bones of the band resonate away and a synth lead dazzles in the foreground – and a very catchy one at that.
The lyrical themes of ‘Colic’ are very varied – at times very nostalgic, at times very sexual, at times a combination of both, most notable on tracks ‘Cum Summer’ and ‘Turn Your Pictures Around’. The lyrics and the vocal approach to the lyrics feel very real; you can get an amazing feel of the emotions on display and the stories being told – especially when they’re being sung in such a heart-wrenching manner.
There’s nothing much to complain about with ‘Colic’ – the only two things that really get in the way are the dimmer moments on the album, moments where nothing really stands out as important or interesting, and also that when the album progresses, the uber-emotional side of proceedings can get a bit too heavy, and a bit too forceful.
The way Then Thickens have progressed into their updated sound on ‘Colic’ might pave the way for an even better batch of alternative pop rock tunes in the future – with catchier choruses and melodies. For now, the band are showing a lot of promise; they’re heading in an interesting direction, helped by this solid release.