Thank You Scientist – Stranger Heads Prevail

 [Evil Ink, 2016]

thank-you-scientist-stranger-heads-prevail

Intro: Lefteris Statharas
28 / 10 / 2016

Thank You Scientist can easily be described as a crossover prog band, but I think it takes an extra effort to describe their music. A bit of jazz, a bit of big band influences, an extremely tight rhythm section and all this always with some sufficient energy dose. Perhaps this is a more precise description of their sound.

Stranger Heads Prevail is the second album of the band from New Jersey, who with their first release in 2012 Maps of Non-Extent Places stimulated Claudio Sanchez’s interest, who chose them as Coheed and Cambria’s exclusive opening act and offered them a contract with Evil Ink Records, which re-released their first album in 2014.


 

Let yourselves have fun

There may be no keyboardist in the septet of Thank You Scientist, but the wind instruments and the violin create a memorable sound. What is particularly special in Stranger Heads Prevail is that there is a balance between various genres. The wind instruments are constantly playing along with the rhythm section, thus creating a fullest sound. The orchestrations are meticulous and often the classical instruments lead the music, adopting kinda big band style. The very good use of instruments such as the wind instruments and the violin makes the sound of Thank you Scientist unique. The compositions are all very melodic and mostly quite pleasant. There is an overwhelming positive energy throughout the album. Salvatore Marrano’s vocals who is highly theatrical, contribute to the final result. Mr. Invisible is a pretty good example of Sal’s vocal skills, but also of the explosive mixture of the TYS.

Each musician has something positive and different to offer to the sound and the tracks are impressively structured, so there is plenty of room for it. Tom Monda offers excellent leads and fills in Caverns, while his solo in Blue Automatic is hugely enjoyable. Odin Alvarez, the drummer, is also an important factor throughout the album, either by keeping a nice groove in the faster tracks like The Somnambulist, or by offering up to a more oriental rhythm as in Psychopomp. The advantage with each musician having his own space is that every solo -besides being technically superb- is very carefully placed on each piece and independent at the same time. And this applies to the guitar, the saxophone, the violin and the drums.

Inevitably though, too much space sometimes gives the impression that some parts are overloaded and perhaps a little verbose. This results in tracks such as A Wolf in Cheap Clothing and Need More Input which are a bit too much. Even in Psychopomp which has some strong moments, there are some instrumental parts with the guitar and the violin that ‘manage’ to tire the listener.

There is no doubt though that Thank You Scientist is a group of highly talented musicians with great perception. Stranger Heads Prevail strongly indicates which direction the band wants to follow and thankfully we have an enjoyable and very interesting album.

8 / 10

Lefteris Statharas

 

2nd opinion 

 

The music of the band from New Jersey is versatile, as TYS is a mixture of people with different origins and many musical instruments. Paradoxically, this confusing and technically complex recipe does not tire, but invites the listener to dance to pop and funky rhythms. The presence of the violin and saxophone is in terms of production in the right quantity, giving a jazzy style in an ensemble ranging from the field of experimental music to alternative metal, but always with a progressive orientation. Overall, in all compositions balance prevails in favor of the final result, while the sarcastic and playful concept of the band is already evident from the title of the album, considering the inextricable connection of the American political scene with the word ‘prevail’.

6.5 / 10

Lila Gatzioura