The year 2019 is already stacked with amazing albums in all genres and here we have the third studio release by American progressive and jazz collective Thank You Scientist. Their longest effort to date so far (nearly 85 minutes), this one is not for the shy nor the common music listener. It’s long, it’s complex, but it’s also quite addictive.
On the surface, the casual listener might think some songs could’ve been cut out to make this album more accessible and, while there’s some truth to that, it certainly would not be the same experience the band put their hard work into. Nevertheless, Terraformer is still utterly enjoyable whether you listen to it in its full 85 minutes or if you just listen to a couple of tracks. The group gave us 3 singles before the official release: “FXMLDR” (which is a reference to the character Fox Mulder from the hit television series ‘The X-Files’), “Swarm” and the title track “Terraformer”.
While these tracks are excellent examples of the band’s prowess, there are other songs that deserve a highlight. The first is “Birdwatching”, the fifth track. It stands out for being different than the rest of the compositions and, while it just serves as an interlude before the next song, it sure is interesting to see the band trying out something different like this. The second honourable mention goes to “Everyday Ghosts”, which is the longest song in the album, clocking up on just over 10 minutes. Thank You Scientist is a band that is not afraid to make long tracks and this is one is their longest to date. Every second is filled with superb compositions and musicianship. After this, we have “Chromology”, another track that breaks their records, this time by being their longest instrumental. This is an excellent example for those who still believe the band would be better off without Salvatore Marrano on vocals. The lack of singing gives space for all the instruments to shine. There are saxophone, trumpet, guitar, bass, violin and keyboard solos all throughout its almost 10 minutes. Though it may seem crowded in theory, the pace of the composition makes every instrument shine on their given moments and make this one of the best tracks laid down by the band.
The remaining songs are of course also worth being listened to, even the short segues (with and without vocals) between the longer tracks. There’s even another reference to television in “Shatner’s Lament”, this time to William Shatner, star of the show “Star Trek”. Throughout the whole 85 minutes, the talented men behind Thank You Scientist deliver exquisite compositions, something that doesn’t come as a surprise if you’re familiar with the band.
However, it can be difficult for first-time listeners. People who don’t have any progressive or jazz backgrounds will find it exceptionally hard to enjoy. But for fans of this type of music, this will please them in almost every way.
The experience is definitely worth all those minutes and, after its finished, most will probably just return to the beginning and listen to it all the way through again.
About Thank You Scientist
Review by David Chuva
Managing Editor: Filipe Gomes